Stories for June 2015


Tuesday, June 30

Tease photo

Genia Lovett

Genia Lovett, a longtime Gannett executive, came out of retirement to take the reins at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, the newspaper reported today.

Tease photo

First of July Celebration and UMMC LGBT Health Division

Next month, UMMC will open the Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and LGBT individuals through research, education, clinical practice and community outreach.

Tease photo

Jackson OKs Hate Crime Reporting Rule

Amid tensions following the mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., and over the legalization of same-sex marriages across the nation, the Jackson City Council this morning passed an ordinance requiring the reporting of hate crimes within the city limits.

Monday, June 29

Citizens Rally to Change 'Traumatizing' State Flag

On Monday, June 29, citizens, activists and officials rallied in the shadow of the Confederate Women's Memorial, located at the Mississippi Capitol, to call on political leaders to remove a controversial Confederate symbol from the official state flag.

Tease photo

Mississippi Clerks Issuing Same-Sex Licenses with AG Hood's Approval

Some Mississippi county clerks started issuing marriage licenses to all couples on Monday morning, after Attorney General Jim Hood wrote them promising no "adverse action" in response this morning.

Tease photo

Laura K. Cooper

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-2nd District, appointed Laura K. Cooper as his 2015 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation intern on June 1.

Tease photo

Mississippi Bans Text-and-Drive, Repeals Inspection Sticker

Starting Wednesday, people driving in Mississippi can be penalized for sending text messages or posting to social media sites while they're behind the wheel.

Supreme Court Will Re-Hear Texas Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court said Monday it will dive back into the fight over the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas, a decision that presages tighter limits on affirmative action in higher education.

Gov. Cuomo: Inmates Had Sights on Mexico but Ride Backed Out

Two convicted murderers who escaped from prison and eluded a massive manhunt for three weeks had initially planned to drive to Mexico but headed toward Canada on foot when their ride backed out, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Boston 2024 Olympics Organizers Update $4.6B Bid

The group trying to bring the 2024 Olympics to Boston released the most detailed look yet at its bid for the Summer Games on Monday, unveiling a $4.6 billion plan it says would create jobs and housing, expand the tax base and leave behind an improved city with a $210 million surplus.

Tease photo

10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Sunday, June 28

Tease photo

Mississippi Flag Not Flown at USA Track and Field Event

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Only 49 state flags are being displayed at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene this week.

Unmanned SpaceX Rocket Fails on Lift-off

An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies and the first-of-its-kind docking port to the International Space Station broke apart Sunday shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, still reeling from previous failed shipments.

Saturday, June 27

Ole Miss Tackle Arrested For Domestic Violence Involving Stepfather

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze confirmed Saturday that offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil has been arrested in a domestic violence case involving his stepfather in Oxford.

Friday, June 26

Same-Sex Marriage: Some in Mississippi Applaud, Some Condemn Ruling

Quotes from people on different side of the debate on same-sex marriage reveal different responses to the Supreme Courts ruling that overturns the ban on same-sex marriage in Mississippi.

Tease photo

Mississippi Locals Celebrate SCOTUS Decision but Wait for Marriage Licenses

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in a 5-4 ruling on Friday. In Mississippi, small celebrations broke out on the steps of Hinds County Courthouse, as other couples went to the basement to try to get their marriage licenses.

Tease photo

Jason Dottley

On June 26-28, the Mississippi Museum of Art will host the Mississippi Pride celebration, a gay rights event, with Jason Dottley as a musical performer and emcee.

Tease photo

Bryan Fischer of AFA Explodes Over Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Bryan Fischer of AFA has had a lot to say about this morning's U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision.

Tease photo

Mississippi Attorney General: Gay Marriage Still on Hold

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says same-sex marriages cannot take place immediately in the state.

Beheading, Explosion at Factory in France; Suspects Captured

A man with suspected ties to French Islamic radicals rammed a car Friday into an American gas factory in southeastern France, triggering an explosion that injured two people, officials said. The severed head of a local businessman was left hanging at the factory's entrance, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions, they said.

Kurdish Fighters Battle IS Militants in Northern Syrian Town

Kurdish fighters in Syria besieged pockets of Islamic State extremists in the northern border town of Kobani on Friday, a day after the militants managed to push into the strategic town in a major onslaught, setting off clashes that have so far killed more than 100 civilians, activists said.

High Court Strikes Down 'Vague' Part of Career Criminal Law

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down part of a federal law that is intended keep people convicted of repeated violent crimes in prison longer.

Tease photo

Supreme Court Rules: Same-Sex Marriage Legal Nationwide

The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

More than 75,000 in Mississippi Keep Insurance Subsidies

Gov. Phil Bryant was among several Mississippi Republican leaders who criticized the Supreme Court's decision Thursday upholding the tax subsidies underpinning President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, as he called the law "a socialist takeover of health care."

Thursday, June 25

Tease photo

MS Avoids Tremendous Hike in Premiums by Three Votes

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth Circuit decision in King v. Burwell.

Governor: No Special Session on Mississippi Flag Design

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says he will not call Mississippi lawmakers back to the Capitol to consider removing a Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Tease photo

The Rest of Our Race Story

The real challenge today is to understand a point of view different from our own. Yes, we need a conversation about race, but we also need to prepare our hearts and minds for the encounter.

Tease photo

Only a Special Session Could Change Mississippi Flag Before January

Since the first cry for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol, the national conversation has broadened to the use of the symbol beyond Charleston. In Mississippi, the state flag's Confederate symbol is now also in question.

Tease photo

Dundrecous Nelson

Dundrecous Nelson hopes 85 percent is enough right now. After an ankle injury that ended his college career, he is currently 85 percent back to his old self and knows he is a work in progress.

EU Leader Urges Crackdown on 'Illegal Migration'

The European Union's president called Thursday for a crackdown on migrants who are only looking for jobs as opposed to those fleeing war or persecution, as migrants keep arriving on Europe's shores in ever-greater numbers.

First Funerals Begin for Church Shooting Victims

Police officers stood guard and checked bags as people filed into a church Thursday for the first funeral for victims of the massacre at a historic black church.

US Capitol's Confederate Statues Prompt Renewed Debate

Alexander H. Stephens, onetime vice president of the Confederacy, sits memorialized in stone, right leg crossed over left, staring sternly into the distance as summer-clad tourists mill about him in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. Solemn and cold, he looks like he could sit there for eternity.

Supreme Court Upholds Key Tool for Fighting Housing Bias

The Supreme Court handed a major victory to the Obama administration and civil rights groups on Thursday when it upheld a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination.

Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Health Care Law Subsidies

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

Wednesday, June 24

Tease photo

Mississippi Had Most to Lose in Obamacare Decision

Mississippi could experience the largest cost spike in health-care premiums in the country if the "Obamacare" premium tax credit becomes unavailable.

Tease photo

Mayor Tony Yarber: "No need to display a Confederate emblem..."

In Mississippi, our legislative leaders have the power to rid this state of a vestige linked to one of our most shameful periods. Why hold on to it?

Tease photo

Confederate Flag Divides Mississippi Politicians

In the wake of the Charleston massacre, the nation is questioning South Carolina's Confederate flag, and in turn, looking to Mississippi's state flag that features the symbol.

Tease photo

Unconventional Art: Creativity and Mississippi Comic Con

Some fans anxiously awaited Mississippi Comic Con even before its predecessor, last year's SOPOCU Con, wrapped up. But while founder Greg Hanks hoped to make it an annual event, he hadn't necessarily planned a follow-up convention.

Changing Flag Is Just a Step Toward Progress

While we applaud House Speaker Phillip Gunn's statement this week that the Confederate emblem should be removed from Mississippi's state flag, we would sound a note of (optimistic) caution.

Tease photo

The State Flag Must Go

As a true son of Mississippi and of the legacy of my Confederate forefathers, I urge you all to support changing the flag.

Tease photo

I’m French Canadian and Irish

Boneqweesha Jones: "Welcome to Ghetto Science Public Television's special edition of 'Qweesha Live Special Report.' Wondering if I will jump on the Rachel Dolezal media bandwagon? The answer is yes."

As SC Honors Church Victims, Alabama Lowers its Flags

The Confederate battle flag was still flying high atop a 30-foot pole outside the South Carolina Statehouse on Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to honor their beloved black colleague with a viewing in the Rotunda.

Tease photo

Sen. Roger Wicker: 'I now believe our state flag should be put in a museum...'

One of Mississippi's Republican U.S. senators says the Confederate battle emblem should be removed from the state flag because it offends many people and gives a false impression of the state.

Tease photo

Transgender Man Sues Tower Loan

On April 13, 2015, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Altshuler Berzon LLP, and Delaney & Robb filed suit against Tower Loan for discrimination on behalf of Tristan Broussard.

Tease photo

Pride and Prejudice: A Life-Long Battle from Civil Rights to LGBT Rights

It was 1962 in Jackson, and Dee Smathers lived in an apartment on State Street with her first college roommate turned lover. Dee's family was living out of the state, so she did not worry about their judgment. Her partner, on the other hand, was living a secret life.

Tease photo

Dan Jones on Mississippi Flag: 'It's Time to Change'

I join my voice to that of others encouraging a change in our state flag. My life experience has offered many opportunities for conversations with many people from all walks of life about our state flag and other symbols of the Confederacy.

Tease photo

O, Speak and We Shall Live

On the night of June 16, 1964, Bud and Beatrice Cole, along with four other adults and two children, were attending a stewards' meeting to discuss finances at the Mt. Zion Methodist Church east of Philadelphia, Miss.

Tease photo

Alphonso Hunter: Rebuild Hinds County

This year, Alphonso Hunter, 56, is making another bid for the Hinds County District 2 Supervisor seat. He recently sat down with the JFP to talk about his vision for the county.

Tease photo

Summer League of Dreams

While everyone waits for football to begin, Mississippi basketball fans can see more of the sport this summer.

Tease photo

The Bratton Sound

Bob Bratton went looking for a sound, but he ended up creating it himself. The Madison resident has been building custom guitar amplifiers for the past year, but has only sold them under the moniker C2 Guitar Amps since March.

Tease photo

Shaken, Not Stirred

I often find myself drinking seasonally. Generally, that means more red wine and full-bodied beverages in the winter and lighter wines in the summer. Spring and summer also make me think of gin.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Jackson, Miss. small forward Mario Kegler (Callaway High School/Arlington Country Day School) is the No. 36 ranked recruit in the latest Top 100.

Tease photo

Julianna Pardue

Julianna Pardue was never far from a comic book when she was a child. Her dad collected them, so she fondly remembers playing around and rifling through his many boxes of issues.

Tease photo

The Mississippi Money Race

Mississippi state executive offices are up for election this year. Incumbent Gov. Phil Bryant and incumbent Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves both have the largest amounts of money at their campaigns' disposal: a combined total of more than $5 million.

After Charleston, South Revisits Its Many Confederate Images

Calls to remove Confederate imagery from public places multiplied rapidly across the South and beyond Tuesday, with opponents eyeing state flags, license plates and statues of Civil War politicians and generals.

Tuesday, June 23

Tease photo

Lt. Gov. Reeves: Fate of State Flag Will 'Be Decided by the People of Mississippi'

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves released a statement today on the Mississippi state flag.

Tease photo

McDaniel Slams Changing State Flag

Senator Chris McDaniel made the following verbatim statement regarding calls to do away with Mississippi's official state flag.

Tease photo

Mississippi Governor: State Flag Not Likely to Change

A top Mississippi lawmaker said Monday that the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and needs to be removed from the state flag.

Tease photo

Farish Street Blues and Mississippi Tobacco Settlement

Johnny T's Bistro and Blues is a sister establishment to Norma Ruth's that will focus on quality steak, pasta, seafood and what John "Stax" Tierre says will be his own spin on bar food, including finger foods and shareable items.

Tease photo

Deidra Jones-Snell

Deidra Jones-Snell has done her fair share of traveling.

Monday, June 22

Tease photo

MS House Speaker Gunn: 'We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi's flag.'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A top Mississippi lawmaker said Monday that the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and needs to be removed from the state flag.

Tease photo

From Terrorists to Politicians, the Council of Conservative Citizens Has a Wide Reach

When I clicked on Dylann Roof's alleged racist "manifesto" yesterday, I wasn't surprised at all to see the name of the Council of Conservative Citizens name-checked. In some ways, I was happy to see it.

Tease photo

Agreement Aims to Stymie School-to-Prison Pipeline

The Justice Department said Friday it has reached a settlement with the city of Meridian over policies that had allowed students to be detained without probable cause or legal representation—policies that mainly affect black and disabled children.

Tease photo

LeMia Jenkins

Jackson native LeMia Jenkins recently returned home from Washington, D.C., and joined the research team at Jackson State University as its new director of federal relations.

White Supremacist Donated to GOP Presidential Candidates

The leader of a white supremacist group cited by Charleston church murder suspect Dylann Roof made $65,000 in donations to Republicans, including several to Republican presidential candidates, The Guardian newspaper reported Sunday night.

Iran, EU Hold Nuclear Talks as June 30 Deadline Nears

Iran's foreign minister and European Union counterparts are holding talks in an effort to reach a deal over Tehran's nuclear program before a June 30 deadline.

EU Launches Navy Operation Against Migrant-Traffickers

The European Union launched a naval operation Monday to try to stop human-traffickers from bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe in unseaworthy boats, a lucrative and at times deadly practice.

Tease photo

10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, June 20

DOJ, Meridian Reach Pact on Youth Arrests Complaint

The Justice Department said Friday it has reached a settlement with the city of Meridian over policies that had allowed students to be detained without probable cause or legal representation — policies mainly affecting black and disabled children.

Friday, June 19

A-Rod Hits a Homer to Reach 3,000 Hits In His Career

NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and smiled all the way around the bases Friday night, the highlight so far in what's become a resurgent season for the formerly disgraced slugger.

NRA Board Member Blames Church's Pastor in Charleston Shooting

A Houston attorney on the National Rifle Association's board of directors is blaming the deadly Charleston church shooting on one of the victims, saying the slain pastor had opposed concealed carry legislation as a state senator that could have saved him and his fellow worshippers.

Video Shows Chicago Officer Firing on Black Youths in Car

A retired judge has released dashboard camera video from a Chicago Police car that shows a white officer repeatedly firing his handgun into a car full of black youths who had been pulled over for speeding and posed no apparent threat.

Ton of Ivory Crushed in Times Square to Highlight Poaching

Over a ton of confiscated ivory tumbled off a conveyor belt into a rock crusher in Times Square on Friday in a symbolic display highlighting an illegal trade that activists say threatens the survival of African elephants.

Tease photo

JSU Breaks Ground on Tech, Engineering Facilities

Jackson State University held a groundbreaking ceremony June 18 for a proposed 24,000-square-foot engineering classroom complex, a two-story addition to the College of Science, Engineering and Technology building on campus.

Tease photo

Scott Albert Johnson

Writing, recording and distributing an album is never an expedient process. For Jackson vocalist, songwriter and harmonica player Scott Albert Johnson's latest record, "Going Somewhere," that was especially true.

Iowa Court Allows Remote Dispensing of Abortion Pill

The Iowa Supreme Court has struck down a restriction that would have prevented doctors from administering abortion-inducing pills remotely via video teleconferencing, saying it would have placed an undue burden on a woman's right to get an abortion.

EPA Proposes Tougher Mileage Standards for Trucks

The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming.

Rangers, SEALs, Now Raiders: Marines Resurrect Historic Name

The Army has the Green Berets, while the Navy is known for the SEALs. Now, an elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps will officially be known as Raiders.

US: 35 Percent Spike in Global Terror Attacks in 2014

Extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria unleashed a savage rise in violence between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department.

World Shocked at Enduring Racism, Gun Violence in US

Often the target of U.S. human rights accusations, China wasted little time returning such charges following the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine people dead. Elsewhere, the attack renewed perceptions that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.

A Partial List of Attacks on Black Churches in the US

Churches have long played a key role in black communities in the United States. Once, in parts of the nation, church buildings were the only places blacks could gather without fear of violence or harassment. Because of that, an attack on a black church took on special significance.

Thursday, June 18

Tease photo

Jackson AME Officials React to Charleston Tragedy

Before tragedy struck in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston, S.C., with the killings of nine worshippers Wednesday, June 17, AME officials were preparing to convene in New Orleans on June 29 for the Council of Bishops and general board meeting.

Tease photo

Hinds County Campaign Finance Reports Are In

Nearly 100 pages of campaign-finance reports have been filed in Hinds County local races.

Tease photo

White Man Arrested in Killing of 9 in Historic Black Church

A white man was arrested Thursday in the slayings of nine people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.

Tease photo

Calvin Smith

Only a few men can lay claim to being the fastest human in the world. One of those men is Calvin Smith.

Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Beijing-Backed Election Plan

Hong Kong lawmakers defeated the government's Beijing-backed election plan Thursday, vindicating pro-democracy activists who flooded the streets last year in protest but leaving the city's long-term political future up in the air.

Serbia 'Shocked' by Hungary's Plans to Build Border Fence

Balkan countries and the European Union on Thursday criticized Hungary's plans to build a fence along the border with Serbia to stop the flow of migrants reaching the country.

US Wonders: Why Stolen Data on Federal Workers Not for Sale?

The Obama administration is increasingly confident that China's government, not criminal hackers, was responsible for the extraordinary theft of personal information about as many as 14 million current and former federal employees and others.

Supreme Court Allows Use of Child Abuse Evidence

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that statements that children make to teachers about possible abuse can be used as evidence, even if the child does not testify in court.

Senate to Vote on Defense Policy Bill

Over White House objections, the Senate is poised to pass a $612 billion defense policy bill that calls for arming Ukraine forces, prevents another round of base closures and makes it harder for President Barack Obama to close the prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

Israel Church Set Ablaze in Possible Jewish Extremist Attack

A fire ripped through one of the most famous Catholic churches in the Holy Land on Thursday, damaging the roof and burning prayer books in what authorities believe is an attack by Jewish extremists.

White Man Sought in Killing of 9 People in Black Church

An intense manhunt was underway Thursday for a young white man who joined a prayer meeting and then opened fire inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people, including the pastor. Authorities called it a hate crime.

Dolezal Was Asked If She Tried to Mislead Howard University

Rachel Dolezal, who has posed for years as a black woman, faced tough questions about her racial identity long before her career as a civil rights advocate was derailed by this week's revelations that she grew up "Caucasian."

Wednesday, June 17

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Mississippi State University has a national champion runner. Rhianwedd Price won a national title in the 1500-meter at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, June 13.

Tease photo

SmackDowns and Tiaras

Father's Day is this Sunday, and I would be remiss if I didn't take some time to discuss my role as a stay-at-home dad. It has been the biggest challenge and a life-changing experience.

Tease photo

Lessons from Getting ‘Caught’

Even those, like Janice Singleton, who commit white-collar crimes struggle to find gainful employment after they're released, which is one reason that prisons have so many repeat offenders, she says.

Tease photo

Guys We Love

Each Father's Day, we present the Guys We Love issue, which highlights men who are making a difference in the community. This year's batch is no exception.

Time to Rethink Local Policing Strategies

The B.R.A.V.E. program, adopted from Baton Rouge, started in a section of west Jackson from West Capitol Street to Interstate 20.

Tease photo

My Coming Out Story

The LGBT community grows every year during National Coming Out Day. During this day of courage, "hidden" members of the LGBT community have a chance to reveal their true selves to society and be proud of their sexual orientation.

Tease photo

Sheriff: Crime Has No Boundaries

On June 9, Tyrone Lewis invited the Jackson Free Press to his office to respond to Victor Mason, explain his famous holiday-themed billboards and say why he deserves to remain the county's top law-enforcement officer.

Tease photo

Special Ed Groups on the Fence about Initiative 42

Initiative 42, the citizen-supported ballot measure to fully fund Mississippi's public-school system, boasts of having a broad coalition of support. However, a vocal and influential bloc aren't fully convinced that the initiative will be good for their kids.

Tease photo

Givers We Love

I appreciate the presents my dad has bought me in the past, of course, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather hang out with him. I'd rather thank him for showing me the kind of person I want to be.

Tease photo

Quincy Mukoro

As the first generation of his family to live in America and the president of his own company, Quincy Mukoro, 33, has had an interesting journey to Mississippi.

Tease photo

The Boon of Fondren and Craft Beer

In many ways, craft beer's boon mirrors Fondren. Both emphasize local support. As with craft breweries, the vast majority of businesses in the neighborhood are small and local.

Tease photo

First You See It, Now You Don’t

Mississippi Museum of Art's Museum After Hours highlights some of the creative and innovative places and people in Jackson.

Tease photo

A Long, Long LGBT Road

Cameron Stewart and Amber Cameron have been together five and a half years. About a year ago, the couple had a backyard wedding ceremony with vows and commitments—but because they live in Mississippi they could not get a license.

Tease photo

Private Prison ‘Whack-a-Mole’

Legal advocates for prisoners in Mississippi say the state has failed to follow through on promises to create better conditions at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility and that attempts to address safety concerns at Walnut Grove, which started out as a youth prison, have spurred violence at other prisons.

Tease photo

The Self-Made Songstress

How many people get to make a living doing what they love the most? The answer: Not enough. But singer-songwriter Elle Carpenter is one of them.

Tuesday, June 16

Tease photo

Barnette's, Mellow Mushroom, Kemper and Gulf Broadband

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers has released its second annual Homegrown Picks menu, consisting of new food and beverage concepts from its own employees.

Tease photo

Rita B.

For more than two years, Cherita Brent has been taking the stage as stand-up comedian Rita B. Now, she's taking one giant step forward in her comedy career with her first hour-long special, "Rita B. Is the New Black," which records live Saturday, June 20, at the Alamo Theater.

Monday, June 15

Tease photo

My Friend Rachel Dolezal: Walk in Her Shoes

When Rachel Dolezal's story began trending this month, media outlets immediately began shucking the most symmetrical assumptions of race and ethnicity. The headlines ranged from "Hero" to "Hater."

Tease photo

Jody E. Owens II

Jody E. Owens II, who has worked with the SPLC since January 2011, seems like a natural if not overdue choice to receive the Beth Arnovits Gutsy Advocate for Youth Award from the National Juvenile Justice Network.

Tease photo

Mississippi's LGBT Community Awaits Supreme Court Decision

The Mississippi LGBT community is anxiously awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could federally legalize same-sex marriage, which would make it legal in the state.

Dolezal Steps Down as NAACP Spokane President

The president of the NAACP's Spokane, Washington, chapter resigned as furor mounted over her racial identity that emerged after her parents said she falsely portrayed herself as black for years even though she is actually white.

Tease photo

Blogger Gets 2.5 Years Over Senator's Wife Photo Conspiracy

A blogger who pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to breaking into a nursing home and shooting unauthorized video of the ailing wife of a U.S. senator was sentenced Monday to serve more than two years in prison.

Amnesty Urges World to Take More Responsibility for Refugees

Amnesty International urged world leaders Monday to radically overhaul refugee policies and create a comprehensive global strategy to deal with the crisis, describing it as the worst emergency of its kind since World War II.

Europe's Comet Lander Makes 2nd Contact After Waking Up

The Philae spacecraft has been in touch with Earth from a speeding comet for the second time since waking up a few days ago, mission control said Monday, and scientists hope to improve communications with the lander by shifting the trajectory of its mother ship.

US Archbishop Quits After Archdiocese Charged with Cover-Up

Pope Francis has started making good on his promise to not let even the most senior churchmen get away with sex abuse or cover-up.

Colorado Court: Workers Can be Fired for Using Pot Off-Duty

The Colorado state Supreme Court ruled Monday that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The case has big implications for employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Tease photo

10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Friday, June 12

Man Charged with Putting Noose on Statue to Plead Guilty

A man charged with hanging a noose around a college statue dedicated to integration and diversity is going to plead guilty.

Tease photo

Clarion-Ledger Loses 4, Including Publisher

The Clarion-Ledger continues to shrink, with the loss of at least four employees, including the paper's publisher, who has been with the company less than a year.

Tease photo

2 Officers Hurt at Mississippi Jail; Officials Review Video

Sheriff's deputies were reviewing video surveillance footage Friday to determine what happened during a Mississippi jail incident that left two male officers injured.

Tease photo

Andrew Bucci

With a legacy that spanned eight decades, Andrew Bucci made a lasting impact on the Mississippi creative economy.

Obama Makes Personal Appeal on Trade with Key Vote in House

President Barack Obama made an unusual, personal 11th-hour appeal to dubious Democrats on Friday in a tense run-up to a House vote on legislation to strengthen his hand in global trade talks.

German Prosecutors Close Merkel Cellphone Spying Probe

German prosecutors on Friday closed their investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone by the U.S. National Security Agency, saying they have been unable to find evidence that would stand up in court.

Another 2,000 Third-Graders Pass Reading Test on Second Try

More than 2,000 third-graders passed Mississippi's reading test when they took it a second time, leaving about 3,400 students statewide at risk of failing.

Thursday, June 11

Judge Rules There's Evidence to Charge Cleveland Officers

Enough evidence exists to charge two police officers in the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy who was holding a pellet gun outside a recreation center, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Union: Hackers Have Personnel Data on Every Federal Employee

Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, saying that the cyber theft of U.S. employee information was more damaging than the Obama administration has acknowledged.

Union-Backed Dems Make Final Push to Kill Obama's Trade Bill

Union-backed Democrats launched a last-ditch effort Thursday to scuttle President Barack Obama's trade agenda by sacrificing a favored program of their own that retrains workers displaced by international trade.

Tamir Rice Case: Judge Rules There's Evidence to Charge Officers

Enough evidence exists to charge two police officers in the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy who was holding a pellet gun outside a recreation center, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Tease photo

Cruz Contreras

Cruz Contreras, lead vocalist for Knoxville, Tenn. Americana group The Black Lillies, has been a musician for as long as he can remember.

Tease photo

National Parks Shift Tone on Climate Change

Interpreters at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve don't mind sharing warnings about a changing climate and sending visitors away with a directive to be nicer to the Earth when they go home.

EU Launches Antitrust Investigation into Amazon Over E-Books

The European Union's executive branch has launched an antitrust investigation into online retailer Amazon over its distribution of e-books, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Tease photo

Walnut Grove Prison to Remain Under Court Order

There is no question, a federal judge said, that "there are current and ongoing violations of the inmates’ federal rights" at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility.

Milan Appeals for Help Managing Migrants

Milan city officials have appealed for help in managing the huge number of migrants arriving from southern Italy after rescue at sea, as rising numbers are unable to find beds and are sleeping in the train station.

FIFA's Top Spokesman Leaves Job, Blatter Urged to Do Same

FIFA's top spokesman left his job Thursday, hours after Sepp Blatter was urged to do the same by the European Parliament.

State Rep. Esther Harrison, D-Columbus, Dies at Age 69

Mississippi state Rep. Esther Harrison, D-Columbus, is being remembered as someone who worked for her constituents without seeking the spotlight for herself.

Wednesday, June 10

US to Send Up to 450 More Troops to Train Iraqis

President Barack Obama ordered the deployment of up to 450 more U.S. troops to Iraq on Wednesday to advise and assist local forces in an effort to reverse the recent gains of the Islamic State.

Murder Charge Dropped Against Woman Who Induced Abortion

A Georgia prosecutor dropped a murder charge Wednesday against a 23-year-old woman whose arrest after taking pills to end her pregnancy baffled even abortion opponents.

Cybersecurity Firm says Spying Campaign Targeted Iran Talks

A cybersecurity firm with close ties to Russian intelligence said Wednesday it uncovered a cyber-espionage campaign targeting hotels that hosted Iran nuclear negotiations, the details of which are among the most closely held secrets in world diplomacy.

Pope Creates Abuse Tribunal for Cases of Bishop Negligence

Pope Francis has created a new tribunal section inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up for priests who raped and molested children, the biggest step the Holy See has taken to hold bishops accountable for abuse.

Senate GOP Denies Funds for Lawyers for Immigrant Children

A GOP-controlled Senate panel has blocked President Barack Obama's request for $50 million to pay for legal help for unaccompanied immigrant children coming to the United States after fleeing violence in Central America.

Why Americans are Getting New Credit Cards

U.S. banks, tired of spending billions each year to pay back fleeced consumers, are in the process of replacing tens of millions of old magnetic strip credit and debit cards with new cards that are equipped with computer chips that store account data more securely.

Tease photo

Gunfight! The Showdown for Hinds County Sheriff

The biggest obstacle between Sheriff Tyrone Lewis and a second term is Victor Mason, a former Jackson police lieutenant, who has followed jail developments closely.

Tease photo

Yolanda Foster

As a child, Yolanda Foster knew she wanted to do something creative when she grew up.

Tease photo

Praying for Help at Nissan

Braving 90-degree temperatures and 50 percent humidity, almost three dozen people showed up on Nissan Drive right by the front entrance of the automobile manufacturer to hold what organizers referred to as a prayer vigil urging Nissan to stop using threats in the manufacturer's "anti-union campaign."

Tease photo

Debate Rages Over Causes of Abortion Declines

Abortion numbers could be down for multiple reasons, including higher distribution of contraceptives and the lowering of teen-pregnancy rates in states like in Colorado.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Mississippi State University to Madison: Former Bulldog running back Nick Griffin has joined the Madison Central High School football staff as its running backs coach.

Tease photo

McKinney, Texas: Let’s Reflect and Talk

The night of June 5, police were called to a pool party because, the reports said, a group of black kids had crashed the party and were being disruptive.

Tease photo

What Col. Odom Brought Home from Italy

Mike Odom, who now owns a coffee shop of his own called the CoffeeBAR at the Outlets of Mississippi, has been to more than 50 countries and tried coffee from most of them, but out of all the varieties, he holds espresso in particularly 
high regard.

Tease photo

Blackness, Leisure and an American Dream

Everyone was sold on the American Dream. The trouble is, when scenes like McKinney play out, it's hard to make a case that black people who bought into the dream shouldn't get every penny of their money back.

Tease photo

Growing the Gospel Artist Showcase

When Percy Davis and his daughter, Parkisha Davis, started Nighthawk Productions in 2005, he hoped to bring gospel music back to the forefront in the city of Jackson and around the state.

Tease photo

Disturbing the Peace Law: Ludicrous?

Legal experts say Mississippi's disturbance of the peace statute is broad enough to mean whatever police and judges want it to mean.

School Superintendent Drops Graduation Cheering Charges

A Mississippi school superintendent who pressed charges against people for cheering at a high school graduation has now dropped the charges.

2016 Is the Year To Make Early Voting a Reality

As we enter the 2015 election cycle, it's worth noting that Mississippi is down to one of only 14 states that has no provision for early voting and requires an excuse for absentee voting.

Tease photo

Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Private'

We know based on data from the Mississippi Department of Education that children who didn't pass the reading test are concentrated in poorer districts, where families are more likely to qualify for programs such as Medicaid.

Tease photo

A Simple Battle Strategy

Mr. Announcement: "It's time for the award-winning daytime soap opera, 'All God's Churn Got Shoes.' Today's story takes place at the meeting room of Operation Corporate Backlash. Chief Executive Officer addresses members about Operation Corporate Backlash's 'War on Poverty' crusade."

Tease photo

What Is Courageous?

Last week saw much debate over what is courageous or heroic in terms of who deserves an award. The argument started when ESPN announced that Caitlyn Jenner would receive this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards later this summer.

Tease photo

Baseball’s Healing Bond

Sports can seem trivial in times of great tragedy. But after two recent events in Jackson, I'm more convinced than ever of their power to help heal in the painful aftermath.

Tuesday, June 9

Tease photo

Schools Funding Now Up to State Supreme Court

The fate of an education ballot initiative now rests with the Mississippi Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in the case this morning in Jackson. The nine justices will decide whether a lower court overstepped its authority when he rewrote an alternative proposed ballot initiative.

Tease photo

Museum Garden, Mint Bankruptcy and Freedom for Food Trucks

The Mississippi Museum of Art will hold a ribbon cutting for the Payton CityFarm Learning Garden Tuesday, June 9, at 5 p.m.

Tease photo

Miss. Justices Hear Debate Over School Funding Ballot Titles

The Mississippi Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday about how two school-funding initiatives will be presented to voters in November.

Tease photo

Joseph Kopacz

Bishop Joseph Kopacz, head of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, is leading a special Habitat for Humanity build called Pope House that honors Pope Francis for his commitment to social justice and helping the poor.

Monday, June 8

Bribery Sentencing Delayed Indefinitely for Epps, McCrory

Sentencings for former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps and businessman Cecil McCrory have been delayed.

Clayton Kelly Pleads Guilty in Cochran Video Case

Clayton Kelly has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for videotaping the ill wife of a senator during election campaign.

Tease photo

Abortion Down in U.S., Mississippi, But Why?

The abortion rate in Mississippi and across the U.S. is down, a new AP report released today shows. The question of why, however, is subject to wide and fierce debate.

Tease photo

Martin McCurtis

Ten years ago in a small apartment, a frustrated husband in a tank top, shorts and flip-flops waited on his wife to finish drying her hair in the living room on a hot, humid summer Mississippi day. That man, Martin McCurtis Sr., is the creator of the momentum dryer.

Tease photo

Texas Officer on Leave After Video Shows Him Pushing Teen

A suburban Dallas police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video was posted online showing him pushing a 14-year-old girl in a swimsuit to the ground and pointing his gun at other teens.

Court Strikes Down 'Born in Jerusalem' Passport Law

The Supreme Court struck down a disputed law Monday that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel on their U.S. passports in an important ruling that underscores the president's authority in foreign affairs.

Ex-SC Officer Indicted for Murder in Shooting of Black Man

A white former North Charleston police officer has been indicted on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who was running away from the officer.

Saturday, June 6

Mississippi Power Credit Rating Falls Over Kemper

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Fitch Ratings lowered its credit rating for Mississippi Power by one notch from A- to BBB+ Friday, saying there remain "elevated risks" of financial, regulatory and construction trouble at the $6.2 billion Kemper County power plant.

Vigil Held Friday For Murder Victim at High Street Diner

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A candlelight vigil was held for a man who died after being beaten and robbed outside a restaurant on Jackson's High Street last week.

Court Lets Mississippi Execution Drug Supplier Remain Secret

The Mississippi prison system can keep concealing the identity of its execution drug supplier while the system appeals an order to release the information, the Mississippi Supreme Court said in a 5-3 ruling Friday.

Friday, June 5

ACLU: Charges for Senatobia Graduation Cheering Infringes on Free Speech Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi says that charging people for cheering at a graduation is violation of freedom of speech protections.

Tease photo

Ramin Maysami

While finishing up his doctorate degree at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Ramin Maysami decided to spend two semesters studying abroad in Singapore—he came back nine years late.

Tease photo

Boys, Barbers and Books

Everyone knows that a trip to a barbershop can often mean long waits before you get in the chair—in some cases, extremely long waits. And for kids, it's sometimes difficult to sit still while waiting for their turn. A new program has a plan for those restless tikes: Give them a book to read.

Thursday, June 4

Tease photo

Jones to Research Obesity at Univ. of Miss. Medical Center

Although University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones didn't get his contract renewed, he won't be going far. The University of Mississippi Medical Center announced Thursday that Jones will be leading clinical research at the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research. The center's mission is to treat or prevent obesity.

Tease photo

Refusing Medicaid: 'Far-Reaching Consequences'

What a new report says is that Mississippians would benefit greatly from the expansion of Medicaid. But what the report really means is that Mississippians—and the rest of the country—are suffering great harm by the state's refusal to expand Medicaid.

Tease photo

Sepp Blatter

It took two countries, but finally, Joseph S. "Sepp" Blatter, the president of FIFA for the last 17 years, a man who was more Teflon than John Gotti, finally went down like the former mobster.

Tease photo

Clinton to Press for Early Voting Expansion in States

Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for an expansion of early voting and pushing back against Republican-led efforts to restrict voting access, laying down a marker on voting rights at the start of her presidential campaign.

Poll: Most Back Legal Status for Immigrants in US Illegally

A majority of Americans support allowing immigrants living in the country illegally to stay and be granted legal status, according to a new poll released Thursday.

G-7 Summit Expected to Lead to Fresh Admonishment of Russia

Western leaders at their weekend summit in Germany are expected to further condemn, but not more strictly punish Russia for its suspected role in the escalating violence in Ukraine.

FBI: Boston Man Talked of a Beheading, Killing Officers

A knife-wielding man killed by terror investigators had planned to behead an unidentified victim, then changed his mind and said he wanted to kill police officers, the FBI said.

South African Police Investigating World Cup Bribes

South African authorities have opened a "preliminary" investigation into World Cup bribery allegations, and an opposition lawmaker said Thursday he had information suggesting "high-level" involvement.

IS Reduces Water Supply to Government Areas in Iraq's Anbar

Islamic State militants have reduced the amount of water flowing to government-held areas in Iraq's western Anbar province, an official said Thursday, the latest in the vicious war as Iraqi forces struggle to claw back ground held by the extremists in the Sunni heartland.

Wednesday, June 3

Tease photo

Step Onto the Mat

Lizabeth "Beth" Thrasher and her husband, Chris Thrasher, are the operators of Wingfield High School's Vector Jiu-Jitsu program. The couple refers to their domain behind the school's auditorium as "The 600 Square Feet of Truth."

Al Joyner, Philanthropist and Businessman, Dead at 69

Albert "Al" Joyner, who owned businesses and contributed to charitable causes in Jackson, died today. He was 69.

Republicans Hold on to North Mississippi US House Seat

Republican Trent Kelly says that as Mississippi's newest member of the U.S. House, he will work to strengthen national defense, protect veterans' benefits and reduce federal regulations.

Tease photo

The SEC Leads the Way

A lot happened in the sports world in the last week. The NBA and NHL finals are now set, and the NCAA Baseball Tournament started May 29 and the Women's College World Series started June 1, just to name a few.

Tease photo

Randolph Tastes Tour Success

PGA Tour rookie Jonathan Randolph played brilliantly over 53 holes at the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic this past week in Irving, Texas. The final 19 was a welcome initiation into what the pressure cooker of the PGA Tour is all about.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Murrah High School basketball great Jesse Pate passed away on Friday, May 29, from a spinal meningitis infection at the age of 41.

Tease photo

TAUK: Beyond the Genre

New York-based instrumental band TAUK bridges gaps, whether in generations or genre.

Tease photo

Apples and Windows: George Wardlaw’s Journey

Although many of us proudly cheer on some of our Mississippi artists, we continue to overlook those who pushed some of the creative boundaries we take for granted. Between May 29 and Aug. 30, the Mississippi Museum of Art exhibits the work of one such artist: George Wardlaw.

Tease photo

Local Nutritious Noms

While residents voted Rainbow Co-op and High Noon Cafe as having the best healthy and vegetarian options in this year's Best of Jackson contest, a few other local restaurants made it as a finalist.

Tease photo

Snakes on a Porch

Snakes are among the least understood, yet most intriguing groups of animals. As temperatures rise, many of the creatures may come out of hibernation. Mississippi is the home of 40 species, and only six are venomous.

Tease photo

Live Healthy, Locally

Eating healthy is getting easier and easier for Jacksonians. Rainbow Co-op and High Noon Cafe give us easy ways to find good food that's good for you, and they do it with locally sourced products.

Tease photo

Healthy App-ing

With smart phones now at the forefront of technology, there really is an app for almost everything you can imagine, from enacting your secret desire to be a crazy cat person (looking at you, Nekoatsume) to helping you get fit.

Tease photo

Siemens Reboots, Council Critics Remain Skeptical

Jackson council members are cautiously optimistic as Mayor Tony Yarber's administration lifts a work stoppage for the beleaguered Siemens water-meter upgrade project.

Tease photo

Lauren Smith

As a personal trainer at the Deville Plaza YMCA, Lauren Smith's job is to encourage her clients during their workouts and hold them accountable for achieving results.

Tease photo

We Are Enslaved Still

If you're white and you're wrong, then you're wrong. If you're black and you're wrong, you're wrong. People are people. Black, blue, pink, green—God makes no rules about color; only society makes rules where my people suffer, and that's why we must have redemption and redemption now.

City Should be More Proactive on Siemens Oversight

Nearly four months ago, Jackson's Director of Public Works Kishia Powell brought the Siemens water-meter project to a screeching halt when one of her deputies discovered a major mistake that had the potential to cost water customers thousands of dollars in erroneous charges.

Tease photo

Why D-Day Matters

As I waited for my wife and contemplated the seemingly unending horrors that man can perpetrate on other men, I realized that standing here answered the question that I had asked myself just a couple of weeks before. Then, I had been standing on a bluff overlooking the D-Day beaches and wondering why in the world it had been necessary.

Tease photo

Group: Women’s Security is Our Security

Wanaki McDuffy is a single mother who is unable to fit both school and work in her schedule. In order to pay for her education, she says she needs a full-time job—a nearly impossible task with the limited child-care voucher the state of Mississippi provides.

Tease photo

Low City, County Wages Cause Concern

Despite getting news from an independent consultant that the wage structure the Jackson City Council approved last year might break the bank, supporters of the higher wages are hopeful that the numbers can work.

Tease photo

What Is Beauty?

Wherever you are, just appreciate the person looking back at you. Half the battle in life is learning to stop hating what you see in the mirror.

Tuesday, June 2

Mint the Restaurant Files for Ch. 11 Bankruptcy

Mint the Restaurant, located at the Renaissance in Ridgeland, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Tease photo

Torshel, Main Street and HUBZone

Ridgeland resident Israel Martinez decided to start his storm shelter construction company, Torshel, after witnessing the destruction a series of tornadoes in Mississippi caused in 2014.

Tease photo

Judge's Rewrite of Ballot Title is Final, Attorneys Argue

The Mississippi attorney general's office and attorneys for an Oxford parent say there's no legal right for anyone—including legislators—to appeal a circuit judge's rewriting of a short description for one of the two school funding proposals on the ballot this November.

Tease photo

Adib Sabir

Adib Sabir has a different perspective on Jackson music, one gained from nearly half a century in the industry. Growing up in the golden age of Mississippi's blues and jazz made one thing abundantly clear to him: Legacy matters.

Zinn or Kelly to Fill U.S. House Vacancy in Runoff

North Mississippi voters were deciding Tuesday who will fill a congressional seat left vacant by the death of a Republican who had just started his third term.

Free Test-Preparation Program for Revamped SAT Goes Online

The nonprofit organization behind the SAT college entrance exam has teamed up with a Silicon Valley pioneer in online education to make test preparation materials available for free starting Tuesday, a move aimed at making the college admissions race less stressful and more fair.

Black and Jewish WWI Heroes Finally Getting Medal of Honor

Two World War I Army heroes—one black, one Jewish—are finally getting the Medal of Honor they may have been denied because of discrimination, nearly 100 years after bravely rescuing comrades on the battlefields of France.

Monday, June 1

Tease photo

Hinds Supervisors Mull Jailer Pay Raises

After the release of a damning report from the U.S. Justice Department concerning conditions at Hinds County jails, officials are eyeing changes to the pay structure for guards.

Tease photo

Analysis: Bryant Lets Suffrage Bills Stand Without Signature

In his first term, Gov. Phil Bryant has allowed eight bills to become law without his signature. All have been suffrage bills.

Tease photo

Mike Slive

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive unexpectedly stepped down Friday, just minutes after announcing record revenue and a groundbreaking rule.

Justices Rule for Muslim Denied Job Over Headscarf

The Supreme Court ruled Monday for a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf.

Surveillance Powers Lapse with No Deal in Senate

The National Security Agency lost its authority at midnight to collect Americans' phone records in bulk, after GOP Sen. Rand Paul stood in the way of extending the fiercely contested program in an extraordinary Sunday Senate session.

Watchdog: Suspected Ex-Nazis Got $20.2M in Social Security

Elfriede Rinkel's past as a Nazi concentration camp guard didn't keep her from collecting nearly $120,000 in American Social Security benefits.

Solar Impulse Plane to Land in Japan Due to Bad Weather

A solar plane attempting to fly around the world without a drop of fuel plans to make an unscheduled stop Monday night in Nagoya, Japan, because of bad weather.

Vietnam: Don't Tie US Weapons Sales to Human Rights Issues

Questions about human rights violations by the Vietnamese government should have no bearing on whether the U.S. should fully remove its ban on lethal weapons' sales to Hanoi, Vietnam's defense minister said Monday after meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Tease photo

10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.