Stories for March 2015


Tuesday, March 31

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A Look Back at Mississippi’s Basketball Season

The Final Four is here, and the book on Mississippi's current basketball season has closed. It felt like a particularly mad March for Mississippi basketball fans, but it was a really fitting end to an eventful season.

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Lamees El-sadek

Lamees El-sadek felt compelled to take action last February when a man shot and killed a Chapel Hill, N.C., family of three Muslims—Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha—reportedly over a parking dispute.

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Tangle Salon's Reincarnation, Donations for Students and Charities, New Electric Car Charge Stations

Fairview Inn (734 Fairview St.) has teamed up with electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors to provide Tesla Destination Charging, a service that provides free connectors that charge Tesla Model S electric cars in minutes instead of hours.

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Lawmakers Move on Bonds Despite Complaints from Colleges

Mississippi lawmakers voted Monday to borrow $450 million for a range of needs, including $24.5 million to build an aquarium in Gulfport.

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Walter Zinn

Walter Howard Zinn, Jr., a Mississippi political operative, will seek the state's vacant 1st Congressional District seat, according to a press release from the Democratic Party.

U.S. to Pledge Up to 28 Percent Emission Cut in Global Treaty

The United States pledged Tuesday to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, the White House said.

Iraq Premier: Troops in Center of Islamic State-Held Tikrit

Iraqi forces battled Islamic State militants Tuesday holed up in downtown Tikrit as the country's prime minister announced security forces had reached the city's center.

Police: Men in Shooting at NSA Had Gone to Hotel to 'Party'

Police say two cross-dressing men who crashed into a guarded entrance to the National Security Agency in a stolen car met the vehicle's owner in Baltimore before heading to a hotel to "party."

Indiana Governor Wants Changes to Religious-Objections Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday that he wants legislation on his desk by the end of the week to clarify that a new religious-freedom law does not allow discrimination.

Monday, March 30

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President Barack Obama

Since winning the presidency in 2008, President Obama hasn't been shy about his feelings on sports. In fact, one of the first things he spoke about as president was the lack of a playoff system in Division I football.

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JPD, Public Works Overtime Budgets Up

Last week, Mayor Tony Yarber declared a state of emergency that he said would help the city take immediate action to repair infrastructure around town—but does the city have the manpower to handle the emergency projects?

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John Waters' Rich, Warped Pageant

Having spent nearly a half-century fighting against "the tyranny of good taste," cult filmmaker, actor, writer and artist John Waters has managed to earn fame and respect of the fully above-ground variety without losing any of his subversive sensibilities.

Friday, March 27

Ex-Ole Miss Student Charged in James Meredith Statue Noose Incident

A former University of Mississippi student has been indicted on federal charges connected to a noose being put on a statue of the student who integrated the school, the Justice Department said Friday.

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Water Safety Prompted Yarber's Emergency Declaration

The state of emergency Mayor Tony Yarber signed late Thursday will enable the city to tap into money from state health and environmental agencies, his office said today.

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Jay Dean

Jay Dean, 62, understands the importance of his role as artistic director of the Mississippi Opera. He served in the position from 2010-2012 before taking a sabbatical, and he returned for the 2014-2015 season.

Trustees Offer Deal to Ole Miss Chancellor

Mississippi's College Board is preparing to offer a two-year contract extension to the University of Mississippi chancellor whom they had previously refused to retain, individuals with knowledge of the negotiations said Thursday.

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Things to Know About the Fight Over Ole Miss Chancellor Job

Negotiations continued on a possible resolution that would retain University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, said former Gov. William Winter, who has been acting as a go-between.

Senate OKs Republican Balanced-Budget Plan, Following House

Republicans muscled a balanced-budget plan through the Senate early Friday, positioning Congress for months of battling President Barack Obama over the GOP's goals of slicing spending and dismantling his health care law.

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Backward Toward Selma

Macye Chatman was a wide-eyed, Tennessee-bred, 19-year-old Tuskegee student in 1965 who turned civil-rights activist after seeing the level of racism and segregation practiced in the Deep South.

Mississippi Senate Agrees to Special Education Voucher Bill

Mississippi senators have agreed to let a small percentage of special education students use public money to go to private schools.

Thursday, March 26

Trustees Offer Deal to Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones

Mississippi's College Board is preparing to offer a two-year contract extension to the University of Mississippi chancellor whom they had previously refused to retain, individuals with knowledge of the negotiations said Thursday.

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Stephanie Parker-Weaver

Since 2008, one of Stephanie Parker-Weaver's main passions has been the nonprofit she founded, called Rebirth Alliance, which aims to educate the public about breast cancer—specifically, a rare and aggressive type of cancer that the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) gene complicates.

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Bryant Signs $2.5 Billion K-12 Education Budget Bill

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday signed a $2.5 billion budget for elementary and secondary schools, putting in place one of the biggest pieces of an overall state government spending plan for the coming year.

US: Thailand Must End Slavery in its Fishing Fleets

The U.S. government and major business leaders are renewing their call on the Thai government to crack down on slavery in its fishing fleets, and to punish people who force migrant workers to catch seafood that can end up in the United States.

Mississippi Governor Signs K-12 Education Budget Bill

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a $2.5 billion budget for public schools, setting one of the biggest pieces of the state spending plan for the coming year.

Wednesday, March 25

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From Rick Ray to Ben Howland Lightning Fast

When Rick Ray took over the head-coaching job at Mississippi State University in 2012, he had an uphill climb from the beginning.

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The Business They Chose

When I heard the news that Mississippi State University athletic director Scott Stricklin had fired basketball coach Rick Ray after just three seasons, ideas from two of the most acclaimed productions in film and TV history, Francis Ford Coppolla's "The Godfather" and HBO's television series "The Wire," sprang to mind.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Mississippi State University fired basketball coach Rick Ray Saturday, March 21, and hired former UCLA Final Four coach Ben Howland. Ray went 37-60 in three seasons in Starkville.

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Power Bluegrass

Since Nashville-based folk band Della Mae started writing and performing original music in 2009, the quintet has become a woman-powered force to be reckoned with.

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Becoming Kid Twist

Oxford, Miss., singer and guitarist Tyler Keith is best known to Jackson audiences for leading straightforward, rowdy rock-n-roll bands, including The Preacher's Kids and his current group, Tyler Keith and the Apostles.

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Crucial Camp Questions

As you develop a short list of summer ideas, here are some of the specific details that you should consider before sending your deposit to a camp.

Stop Ignoring Health Needs of Women

It is time to stop pandering to voters who don't care about the people in our state. Let's change the narrative to one that makes a lick of sense.

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To Finish What They Started

Just like the dichotomy attached to President Obama's election, Selma reminds us of how far we have to go.

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Advice to a Young Woman

To thine own self be true. Be honest even when it feels hard. Represent yourself with confidence and dignity and never lose sight of what impact those two things, honesty and dignity, will have on your life.

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Find Your Voice, Girl!

Many men don't like it when we speak up and talk back. Some will go to great lengths to silence our voices, and too often that gets sexual or physical quickly online.

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So Much For State Transparency

Last year's corruption scandal involving longtime state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps might have resulted in improvements to the state contracting process, but thanks to the Mississippi Senate, holes remain.

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Ex-Prisoners Get a Boost Amid MDOC Turmoil

Re-entry has to come into focus recently as the number of people let out of prison in Mississippi, which has one of the nation's highest imprisonment rates, is on the rise.

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Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman

Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman, a pediatrics professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, recognizes that medicine is not one size fits all. That's why he is studying the role that human genetics play in treatment and prevention, particularly for children.

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Education: At the Intersection of Poverty and Race

At the corner of High Street and North State, Bryan Eason, 31, has set up an ersatz outside classroom for Jackson residents.

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Zack Wallace: Ready to Fly

Zack Wallace has never held elected political office, but he has the power of incumbency on his side.

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Queen for a Day (or Two): Your Guide to the 2015 Zippity Doo Dah Parade

The theme of this year's Zippity Doo Dah Parade is "Bravehearts for Batson." The grand marshal is Randall Wallace, who wrote the script for the film "Braveheart" (and wears a mean kilt).

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Guruz with Heart

Guruz Fitness Studio's signature classes offer spinning, rowing, boxing, suspension training, weightlifting and body-weight exercises, all in the same space and class setting.

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The New Captain America

As part of a tour that included museum exhibits, film festivals and the 2011 New York Comic Con, software analyst and cartoonist Singh presented a lecture, "Cartoons, Turbans & Superheroes: An American Tale," at the Millsaps College Academic Complex on Sunday, March 1.

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An Oyster Paradise

Lucky for Jacksonians, Chef Renee Erickson's prolific food presence in the Pacific Northwest and knowledge of the area's cuisine and ingredients will lend a fresh element to her guest chef dinner at Saltine on Monday, April 6.

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Women Who Rock

Ever since I began listening to The Donnas as a 14-year-old, I grew fascinated with women in rock 'n' roll. And though bands like Paramore wouldn't survive without women like Williams, I always wondered why it is that you rarely ever find women who play the role of lead guitarist.

Tuesday, March 24

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Ole Miss Students Demand Answers After Ouster of Dan Jones

Angry students held aloft red and white signs proclaiming their support for ousted Chancellor Dan Jones on Monday, urging their classmates at the University of Mississippi to sign petitions and attend a protest rally at the state's flagship campus.

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Weight Loss for Money, Recycling Awards

Humana, a state health-benefits company with more than 150,000 Medicare and individual health-plan members across Mississippi, is partnering with the Jackson Medical Mall to launch a citywide movement toward better health.

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Aida Martinez-Bone

Aida Martinez-Bone knows how it feels to be discriminated against as an immigrant.

Atmos Energy Announces $50K in Arts Donations

Atmos Energy is donating $25,000 each to the Grammy Museum Mississippi and the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center.

Monday, March 23

Corinth Police Investigating Assault, Possible Hate Crime

The Corinth Police Department is investigating an assault on a Corinth man as a possible hate crime.

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Mary Schiele Scanlon

Mary Schiele Scanlon, president of event sponsor Friends of the USA IBC, is one of the organizers for "Ballet BackStory," a series of short programs designed to help people better understand and enjoy classical ballet.

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Yarber: Eradicate Veteran Homelessness This Year

On any given night in America, approximately 50,000 veterans are homeless—those who joined the military to fight for this country—and roughly 10 percent of them are women.

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Adams Co. Correctional Center Riot Trial Moved to Jackson

Three inmates charged with planning to kill a guard during a violent federal prison riot at Adams County Correctional Center will be tried June 8 in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

Cruz Kicks Off Presidential Campaign at Christian College

Sen. Ted Cruz opened the first major campaign of the 2016 presidential season Monday with a kickoff speech courting cultural conservatives and declaring that he will devote himself to "reigniting the promise of America."

Obama Announces $240M in New Pledges for STEM Education

President Barack Obama is highlighting private-sector efforts to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Justices Struggle with Free Speech Case Over License Plates

The Supreme Court struggled Monday in a dispute over a proposed Confederate battle flag license plate to balance worries about government censorship and concerns that offensive messages could, at worst, incite violence.

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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, March 20

College Board Won't Renew Contract with Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Dr. Dan Jones said Friday that the state College Board is not renewing his contract as University of Mississippi chancellor, and he will leave the job when his current four-year contract expires in mid-September.

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State NAACP Calls for Inquiry into Black Man's Hanging Death

Federal and state authorities are investigating the hanging death of a black man in Claiborne County who had been missing for more than two weeks, the FBI said Thursday.

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Newly Restored Courthouse, Till Center Focus of Celebration

After decades of soul-searching, The Mississippi Delta town of Sumner with a reluctant link to the landmark Emmett Till civil rights case is ready to celebrate.

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Claude Sitton

Journalist Claude Sitton, 89, died last Tuesday in Atlanta, his place of birth. Between May 1958 and October 1964, Sitton covered the storied "Race Beat," which was the Jim Crow Era Deep South, for The New York Times.

Univ. of Mississippi in Partnership with Africa Universities

Africa is opening up for University of Mississippi students to study, experience and learn firsthand about international issues.

Thursday, March 19

FBI Probing Hanging Death of Black Man in Miss.

Federal and state authorities are investigating the hanging death of a black man in Mississippi who had been missing for more than two weeks, the FBI said Thursday.

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Tunisia Attack

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday for the attack that killed 21 people at a museum. But Tunisian authorities said the two slain gunmen had no clear links to extremists, and analysts said existing militant cells are merely being inspired by the group, rather than establishing its presence across North Africa.

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Judge Jeff Weill vs. Public Defenders: The Next Ferguson?

A controversy brewing in the Hinds County courthouse has the potential to draw the attention of the United States Justice Department, which recently issued a scathing investigative report on the operation of municipal courts in Ferguson, Mo. On Monday, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill held two county public defenders in contempt when he appointed new attorneys to take over their cases, and the defenders refused to stand down.

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House Democrats Reject Sending Tax Cut to Governor

House Democrats, in one of their most unified moments of the past four years, may have killed the chance for large tax cuts in Mississippi's current legislative session.

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Ja-Mes Logan

Former Ole Miss wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan was an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots last fall. He made it to the final round of cuts before the team released him.

Faeroes Invaded by Total Eclipse Seekers

For months, even years, hotels on the remote Faeroe Islands have been fully booked by fans who don't want to miss an almost three-minute-long astronomical sensation. Now the sky gazers just hope the clouds will blow away so they can fully experience Friday's total solar eclipse.

Obama Orders 40 Percent Cut in Government's Greenhouse Gases

President Barack Obama will order the federal government on Thursday to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent, as the U.S. seeks to spur other nations to get serious about climate change.

Budget Vote Delayed Over Battle Between House GOP Factions

House Republicans sought to get their sweeping budget resolution back on track Thursday after a late-night blowup stalled the measure in the Budget Committee. A battle between the party's deficit and defense hawks on a plan to boost funds for the military has dogged the measure.

Wednesday, March 18

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New Orleans Fire Sale or Quick Rise Plan?

Both New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis said there would be major changes after last season's 7-9 finish.

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MHSAA: Noble But Wrong About Callaway

A Mississippi High School Athletic Association rule from 1938 prevented Callaway High School from participating in the Dick's Sporting Goods High School Nationals.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Callaway High School (31-3) won its fourth straight 5A title with a 66-43 victory over Ridgeland High School (29-4). Malik Newman scored 27 points.

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Celling Out

Like it or not, cell phones are going to play a role in your music experience. The question is: When and how often should you use your personal device during a performance?

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Lagniappe for Jackson

While all the members of the Big Easy Three call Mississippi home, everything about their sound is a loving tribute to the Crescent City.

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Reviving the Urban Wall

A flock of rainbow-colored birds suddenly appears on the left side of the street when you round the bend on East Amite Street, heading toward the intersection of West Capitol Street.

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Happy Energy

I'm not a very Zen person. I'm not good at doing nothing, or in general, just relaxing. I think it's somewhat genetic.

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Cooking on the Fly

Before any meal preparation begins, chef Nick Wallace walks his whole kitchen at Mississippi Museum of Art's The Palette Cafe by Viking.

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2015 Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade

Due to the construction on East Capitol Street underway to make the street two-way, the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade route changed in 2014. This year's route is the same as last year's.

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Face the Music: Mal’s St. Paddy’s After-Party

When the floats stop floating and the bead supply runs dry, Mal's St. Paddy's Parade still has more entertainment to offer. Here's a look at the bands that will wrap up the day at the official after-party and awards ceremony at Hal & Mal's.

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Follow the Gold-Record Road: Creating the Grammy Museum® Mississippi

Construction of Grammy Museum® Mississippi is in full swing, and the museum is on schedule to open this fall, tentatively in September, moving quickly during the drier months of late spring and summer.

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Story Evoking Story

There is something about the telling of one's personal story in a non-accusatory way, without an agenda or trying to change someone else, that allows the forgotten stories of the listener to float to the surface of consciousness. It becomes safe to remember.

US, Iran Race to Fill Out Contours of a Nuclear Agreement

American and Iranian negotiators raced to fill out a framework for rolling back Iran's nuclear program and punitive U.S. economic sanctions, hoping for enough progress to call in other world powers for the finishing touches on an agreement next week.

Japan Investigates Death Threats to US Ambassador Kennedy

Japanese police are investigating phone calls threatening to kill U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and another American envoy, authorities said Wednesday.

US Sets New Record for Denying, Censoring Government Files

The Obama administration set a new record again for more often than ever censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'History'

The $100 million in "extra" funds Reeves is crowing about is still only about $200 million shy of the bare minimum schools need per the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

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The Most Vital Word in Eco-Development

If Jackson develops a strong medical technology cluster, we might see a number of different places that could both attract talent and where talent could land when things need to change.

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Easy Being Green

It's time for the annual Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, and many Jacksonians are getting ready for parade day. In addition to the traditional festivities, many local business establishments are ready to help you get a little greener this week.

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St. Patrick's Day Celebrations at Home

The parade is Jackson's iconic way to celebrate the holiday and the coming of spring. But even if you're not going to join the festivities, these recipes give you a way to celebrate the occasion from the comfort of home.

City Must Make Public Info Available

The city must treat access to public records with the same seriousness as its compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Consent Decree, or paying its debt service.

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Exodus from Cootie Creek, Ga.

Brother Hustle: "Welcome to another Compensatory Investment Request support group meeting. Now that the cold, wintery weather appears to be behind us, it's time for our ideas and aspirations to come out of hibernation and spring into action."

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Engage to Change

Given what most black youth face—from lack of opportunity to lack of self-esteem—they have an uphill climb with little mainstream support.

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Report: Water Dept. Overhaul Needed

The City of Jackson is hemorrhaging cash at its Water and Sewer Business Administration. Detailed in a report completed by an independent consulting firm hired last fall, the losses are primarily due to bad management practices and could even involve malfeasance at the WSBA.

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Bobby Rush

Blues singer Bobby Rush may be one of Jackson's greatest living musical exports. He's been making worldwide audiences dance for more than 60 years.

Tuesday, March 17

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JSU Mulling Domed Stadium

When it comes to scoring its long-sought a domed multi-use stadium, it's hard to know whether Jackson State University is threatening in the red zone or looking at a Hail Mary scenario.

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Country Club Plan Lands in the Hazard, Arts Lofts Get New Life

Residents living near Colonial Country Club concerned about a proposed development in their north Jackson neighborhood can breathe a little easier—for now. The Jackson City Council has shelved a request to rezone the property.

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Pine Cone Moves; Fresh Local Produce, Goods for Jackson

The Pine Cone gift boutique (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 220) opened its new home in Deville Plaza next door to Deville Camera yesterday.

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Saint Patrick

Today is Saint Patrick's Day, the day we wear green to avoid getting pinched. But just who was Saint Patrick, and what does he have to do with Jackson's biggest party day of the year?

Police Deny Using Excessive Force in Ferguson Suspect Arrest

A spokesman says allegations that St. Louis County police used excessive force when arresting a man accused of shooting two officers in Ferguson are "completely false."

Lawmakers Weigh in on 'Net Neutrality'

A decision to impose tough new regulations on cable and wireless companies that provide Internet service to Americans wasn't influenced by politics, a top U.S. regulator told House lawmakers on Tuesday.

Robert Durst Back in Court for 2nd Straight Day

Authorities found nearly 150 grams of marijuana and a revolver in millionaire Robert Durst's hotel room when he was arrested over the weekend, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Britain's Shame: Evidence Mounts of Child-Abuse Cover-Up

A toxic mix of misuse of power and official silence has become Britain's shame as the country faces up to a growing web of evidence that the abuse of vulnerable children by powerful men was covered up for decades.

GOP Offers $3.8T Budget that Boosts Defense, Cuts Elsewhere

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget plan for next year that effectively breaks tight budget limits on military spending while promising a familiar roster of big cuts to social programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

Secret Service Director Says He's Working on Agency Culture

Two senior agents accused of being involved in a drunken-driving crash at the White House earlier this month appeared to "nudge" a large construction barrier as they drove through a secure area, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy told lawmakers Tuesday. He said he didn't find out about the incident until days afterward.

Monday, March 16

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Report: State's Uninsured Decline Lags Rest of Nation

The uninsured rate in Mississippi and other states that have resisted expanding health-care access is falling slower compared to states that have expanded Medicaid, a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows.

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Bob Wilson

As executive director of the Mississippi Main Street Association, Bob Wilson works to improve economic development and historic preservation in local communities and helps those communities to develop their downtown areas.

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Analysis: Influence of Senate Conservative Coalition Wanes

Nearly two years ago, the newly formed Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition was preparing to make life uncomfortable for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a fellow Republican whom the coalition's leaders viewed as too willing to work across party lines.

Officials: US to Keep More Troops in Afghanistan into 2016

The Obama administration is abandoning plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year's end, bowing to military leaders who want to keep more troops there, including many into the 2016 fighting season, U.S. officials say.

Man, 20, Accused of Shooting Officers at Ferguson Protest

A man charged in the shooting of two police officers during a demonstration in Ferguson told investigators he was not targeting law enforcement and had been aiming for someone with whom he was in dispute.

Kurds Probe 2 Possible Islamic State Chemical Weapon Attacks

Kurdish forces in Iraq are investigating two other possible chemical weapons attacks by the Islamic State group, a top official said Monday, as authorities put an Iraqi offensive to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown on hold.

Friday, March 13

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Tyrone Hendrix

Ward 6 Councilman Tyrone Hendrix has his sights set on a service that would let citizens get a real-time snapshot of Jackson's finances.

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Mississippi Power, Regulators, Ask Kemper Decision Rehearing

The Mississippi Power Co. and the Public Service Commission are asking the state's highest court to reconsider its ruling overturning rate increases to fund the company's Kemper County power plant and ordering $200 million in refunds.

Thursday, March 12

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Patrick Willis

It's more likely that athlete will stay too long in his or her sport than leave gracefully or early. That's why it is always shocking when a player like San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis walks away.

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Mississippi Special Education Bill Passes that Opponents Say Will Create 'Puppy Mills for Children'

A controversial bill that would use taxpayer funds to send students with disabilities to private schools advanced in the Mississippi legislature Wednesday.

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Mississippi Legislature Creates a New Hurdle for Common Core Standards

Mississippi became the latest state that could replace the controversial Common Core State Standards after the Mississippi House passed a bill Wednesday that will assemble a commission to examine the standards.

Brother of Man Executed by Utah Firing Squad Calls it Brutal

Randy Gardner still struggles four years later to talk about seeing his brother's bullet-ridden body at the mortuary after he was executed.

Iraqi Troops Clash with IS Group in Iraq's Tikrit

Rockets and mortars echoed across Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Thursday as Iraqi security forces clashed with Islamic State militants a day after sweeping into the Sunni city north of Baghdad.

Fake IRS Agents Target More than 366,000 in Huge Tax Scam

Fake IRS agents have targeted more than 366,000 people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail as part of a huge nationwide tax scam that has cost taxpayers $15.5 million.

2 Officers Shot in 'Ambush' Outside Ferguson PD

Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday while demonstrators were gathered across the street—an attack the county police chief described as "an ambush" that could easily have killed both men.

Mississippi Special-Needs Voucher Bill Inches Forward

A proposal to create state-funded vouchers for special education students is moving forward in the Mississippi Legislature.

Wednesday, March 11

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Another Opportunity

Free agency started Tuesday, March 10, in the NFL, and the NFL Draft, which runs from April 30 to May 2, is right around the corner.

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Crowning Queen Victoria

You won't see the biggest impact of Victoria Vivians' first college season in her statistics, although she led the SEC in scoring at 15.1 points per game.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

The championship rounds of the state high school basketball tournament tip off Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, at the Mississippi Coliseum.

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Diving into The Lower Caves

For Nashville, Tenn., indie rockers The Lower Caves, growing up in the music capital of the South played a key role in developing their alternative-rock sound.

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You’re a Good Man, CB

Playwright Bert V. Royal, who wrote the screenplay for the 2010 romantic comedy "Easy A," wanted to pay tribute to "Peanuts" so he took the world of Charlie Brown and turned it on its head in "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead."

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Cleaning Records With Wood Glue

I was skeptical of this method, but I gave it a try—and a few of my prized records went from unlistenable to playable. It involves using wood glue.

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Beginner’s Guide to Surviving a New House

Until last December, I managed to escape the brunt of adulthood's challenges. That all changed when my sister, Emily, and I moved into a small house in Pearl.

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Zeek'z Mediterranean Vibes

After the Flowood location of Aladdin closed in 2014, the area was short a Mediterranean option. On Monday, Feb. 16, Sean Alexander filled that gap when he opened Zeek'z House of Gyros.

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Troubled Water, Part I: Explaining Jackson's $91 Million Siemens Contract

It's almost impossible to turn on the nightly local television news without coming across a story of a Jackson resident who was shocked to open an astronomically high City of Jackson water bill after receiving a new meter.

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Kill Bill Vol. 3: Education, Entertainment, Elections

On the Feb. 3 bill deadline in the Mississippi Legislature, committee chairmen—like the katana-wielding Uma Thurman—swiftly killed several bills aimed at helping educate Mississippi children, creating a music industry in the state and clearing up election law.

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Olivia Coté

Olivia Coté, a 9th grade English teacher at Murrah High School, grew up watching her mother, Anne Karges, hard at work at her craft.

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Are Schools Still Pushing Kids Out?

Krystal Polk's 13-year-old daughter, Krystin, has been arrested twice this school year. The first time, the eighth-grader spent the night in a juvenile detention center.

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‘Little Birds’: Families Sex Trafficking Own Kids

Most reported child sex trafficking in central Mississippi happens within families. In a report filled with difficult realities, this was the most shocking finding for researcher Wendy Bradford.

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A Woman Who Changed My Life

Before college, I was fortunate enough to work with a program called JTPA. The program placed teenagers in real work situations for on-the-job training.

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Because I Proved Him Wrong

In the last few weeks, I've seen so many men on social media comment about how male privilege isn't real. But it is, and it needs to be stopped. We need to stop letting young, impressionable boys grow into the men who abuse women, physically or emotionally.

Stop Meting Out Harmful School Discipline

Education advocates, especially those focused on getting rid of disparities in public education for African American students, recognize the detrimental effects of suspension and expulsion.

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What to Do About Downtown

The boom downtown, such as it is, is paradoxically not a commercial boom. It is residential.

Tuesday, March 10

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Rolling Records, Master Gardeners and Tulane Workshops

Like the man himself, Jack White's Nashville-based label and record store, Third Man Records, has become an institution.

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Adria Walker

I am writing to enthusiastically support Adria Walker for the honor of MSPA Journalist of the Year. I have never worked with a high-school journalist who deserves such an honor more than Adria.

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Senate Sends Bill Banning Texting While Driving to Governor

Mississippi is one step closer to becoming the 45th state to ban texting while driving, after the state Senate overwhelming passed such a bill Monday.

Banned Indian Rape Documentary Debuts in US; Streep Attends

A rape documentary banned from airing in India received its U.S. premiere at a star-studded event on Monday that included actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto.

As Race for UN Chief Begins, New Campaigns Demand a Woman

At a private working lunch for the five most powerful members of the United Nations Security Council, the conversation turned to the question of the next U.N. secretary-general.

In Battle Against IS, Iraqi Forces Retake Town Near Tikrit

Iraqi security forces on Tuesday retook a town next to the militant-held city of Tikrit as they pressed their offensive against Islamic State militants, two military officials said.

UK Foreign Minister: 'Apologists' Partly to Blame for Terror

People who act as "apologists" for terrorists are partly to blame for their actions, Britain's foreign minister said Tuesday, rejecting claims that slip-ups by the intelligence services helped turn young Britons into jihadi militants.

Democrats Denounce GOP Letter on Iran Nuke Talks

Democrats in the White House and Congress accused 47 GOP senators of undermining President Barack Obama in international talks to curb Iran's nuclear program, saying that trying to upend diplomatic negotiations was tantamount to rushing into war with Tehran.

Obama Aims to Clamp Down on Federal Student Loan Servicers

More than 40 million Americans are in debt thanks to their education, and most of their loans come from Uncle Sam. So President Barack Obama is aiming to clamp down on the private companies that service federal student debt with a presidential memorandum he signed Tuesday.

Lawyers Seek Court Control of Mississippi Foster Care System

Lawyers who have been suing Mississippi for 10 years over conditions in its child welfare system said Monday that it's time for a federal judge to take the system over.

Monday, March 9

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Mississippi State's Dak Prescott Injured in Concert Fight

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi State spokesman says quarterback Dak Prescott was injured during a fight at a concert in Panama City, Florida, on Monday afternoon while vacationing during spring break.

Bill to Ban Texting While Driving Headed to Governor Bryant for Signing

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is one step closer to becoming the 45th state to ban texting while driving, after the state Senate overwhelming passed such a bill Monday.

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Judge: State Must Produce Execution Drug Records

On Friday, watchdogs of the state's execution procedures got a victory from a local judge who ordered the Mississippi Department of Corrections to produce unredacted documents about lethal injection drugs that are or have been in the state's possession.

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Willenham Castilla

Jackson State University's longtime director of choral activities, Willenham Cortez Castilla, died Feb. 28. His funeral took place Friday, March 6, at Christ Temple Church of Christ Holiness (845 N. Lamar St.).

Chad and Niger Troops Move to Attack Boko Haram

Forces from Chad and Niger opened a new front in the regional military fight against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, as army vehicles full of soldiers crossed the border into northeast Nigeria, officials and witnesses said Monday.

Univ. of Oklahoma President: Frat Members 'Disgraceful'

The president of the University of Oklahoma lambasted members of a fraternity on Monday who participated in a racist chant caught on video, calling them disgraceful and their behavior reprehensible, and ordered that their house be vacated by midnight.

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Bloody Sunday 50th Anniversary: Weeklong March Begins Monday

A march commemorating the historic "Bloody Sunday" demonstration was set to begin Monday afternoon after several speakers at the 50th anniversary commemoration pushed visitors to fight to restore the Voting Rights Act.

Friday, March 6

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Solar Lights a Healthy—and Empowering—Path in Disasters.

When disaster strikes, survivors have a few basic needs: food, water, shelter, blankets. But energy quickly becomes just as fundamental a need—and that is often lacking, or very dirty.

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City Launching Investigation of Water Dept. Finances

"The largest municipal investigation, maybe in the history of the state" is how Jackson City Council President De'Keither Stamps described the announcement he and other city officials plan to make later this afternoon.

Thursday, March 5

Mississippi Could Add Centuries to Time for Property Trusts

Wealthy people would be allowed to put property in trust for up to 360 years in Mississippi, under a bill that advanced another step Thursday in the state Senate.

Iraq Says Islamic State Militants 'Bulldozed' Ancient Site

Islamic State militants "bulldozed" the ancient Nimrud archaeological site near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday using heavy military vehicles, the government said.

Selma's 50th Anniversary Brings Comparisons to Ferguson

They only lasted minutes, but the beatings of civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama, permanently seared the inhumanity of Southern segregation onto the American conscience.

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Tobias Singleton

One of the more interesting names that should be at the Jackson State Pro Day is former Madison Central High School star Tobias Singleton.

Attack on US Envoy Part of S.Korea's Violent Protest History

A knife attack Thursday that injured the U.S. ambassador to South Korea is the latest act of political violence in a deeply divided country where some protesters portray their causes as matters of life and death.

Ringling Bros. Phasing Out Iconic Elephant Acts by 2018

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out the show's iconic elephants from its performances by 2018, telling The Associated Press exclusively that growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

Last Ebola Patient is Released in Liberia

Liberia released its last Ebola patient, a 58-year old teacher, from a treatment center in the capital on Thursday, beginning its countdown to being declared Ebola free.

Wednesday, March 4

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City Invites Input on 1% Sales Tax Plan

Starting Friday, March 6, members of the public will be able to offer input on the 1 percent sales tax master plan.

US Clears Officer in Ferguson Case, Criticizes Police Force

The Justice Department cleared a white former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old on Wednesday, but also issued a scathing report calling for sweeping changes in city law enforcement practices it called discriminatory and unconstitutional.

House Approves Tax Cut on Alcohol Sold to Retailers

Restaurants and package stores that sell alcohol in Mississippi could get a tax break, if the governor agrees.

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Outside of Celebrity

In 2007, Kevin Sessums' "Mississippi Sissy" (St. Martin's Press, $24.95) became a best seller. The book opened our eyes to the life of a boy touched by tragedy, feeling like an outsider in an ultra-conservative southern state, and his molestation at the hands of a trusted minister.

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Excerpts from Judge Carlton Reeves’ Ruling

Even an abbreviated history shows that millions of Americans were once deemed ineligible for full Fourteenth Amendment protection.

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‘Justice, Justice, Thou Shalt Pursue’: The JFP Interview with Roberta Kaplan

Like many LGBTQ couples, New York attorney Roberta Kaplan and her wife, Rachel Lavine, have enjoyed federal marriage rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal restrictions against same-sex marriage in 2013.

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Funking Up Jackson, Targeting Crime

Fred McAfee was on a study committee that the Mississippi Legislature created last year to determine the feasibility of creating incentives to facilitate an entertainment industry for the state.

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Building LGBT Teen, Business Alliances

When a Magnolia Junior High School teacher conducted a math exercise by dividing the classroom into two teams based on gender, Destin Holmes was forced to sit in the middle of the room. This, according to the teacher, was because the teenage girl was "an in-between it."

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The Challenge of Paying for ‘One Lake’

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will give its final "yay" or "nay" on a long-awaited and long-overdue plan to ease flooding along the Pearl River.

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City Roundup: Health Care Zones, Land Trusts

Not a whole lot has happened in Jackson in the two years since the Legislature passed Gov. Phil Bryant's health-care zone law in 2012.

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Jaden Wesley Nixon

Jaden Wesley Nixon isn't your typical 13 year old. For one, he has sickle cell disease, an illness where a person's red blood cells are sickle-shaped, which can block blood flow to the limbs and organs.

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Setting Up Women for Failure ... or Success

Too many people are still in denial about the way our culture treats even successful and educated women differently. 
So it makes a lot of sense that poor and less-educated women become the real dumping grounds for societal blame.

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The Tale of Samantha Woo

Woo Couture is the brainchild of Samantha Woo, a wedding-dress designer from Vietnam. Woo's family has been making clothes for generations.

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Meals for a Busy Life

I have some quick and easy recipes that will help you make family dinners a rousing success, including my 30-minute taco soup. These are recipes you can prepare in advance so when you come home from work, you're not stuck in the kitchen.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Behavior'

One can practically hear the groans of defense attorneys upon learning that their cases will be tried in the court of Judge Jeff Weill, a former Republican member of the Jackson City Council who has a reputation as a throw-the-book-at-you kind of guy, even when the law calls for less severe penalties.

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The New World Order of Things

Boneqweesha Jones: "In this New World Order era, today's employers seek dedicated workers with more brains than brawn."

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Cheating to Win

At times, it seems like cheating and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly. The sports world has had more than a few examples of this lately.

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Tourney at ‘The Big House’

Some call the Mississippi Coliseum "The Big House." And for two weeks every March, it plays host to one of the biggest and best events in Mississippi sports: the state high school basketball championships.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Pearl River Community College beat Holmes Community College 65-54 to win the boys MACJC State Championship. Co-Lin Community College won the girls state title.

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Resolution Not Necessary

As February comes to a close, I wonder how many people vowed to start the year with a new commitment—to health, to fitness, to self-improvement—and how they've fared so far. I wonder because I'm decidedly not one of them.

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Recipes for Extremism

In his National Prayer Breakfast speech, President Barack Obama attempted to bridge the gap between Christians and Muslims when he rightfully stated that extremists who commit evil acts in the name of God or Allah is nothing new to either religious entity.

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MDOC Transparency and Execution Secrecy Don’t Mix

Mississippi can't have it both ways. We cannot stamp out corruption at the state and local levels and, at the same time, hide behind a veil of secrecy when it comes to carrying out executions.

Tuesday, March 3

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USDOJ: Sweeping Racial Bias in Ferguson Police

A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with its findings.

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Middle-Class Families Could Get Special-Needs Help

When the parents of 10-year-old Flannery Smith noticed their daughter's learning difficulty, they took immediate action. Through legal help from the Mississippi Center for Justice, the family compelled the school district to provide services including diagnoses and a special computer program.

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Bubble Tea, Telehealth Center and NAMI MS Coming to the Metro

Karen Gordon, owner of High Biscuits (7048 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 769-300-4948), a British-style tearoom that also has a contemporary southern atmosphere, wants to do something different for Jackson's neighborhood cafe scene.

Jury Seated in Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

After two months of jury selection, a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was seated Tuesday for the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Body-Camera Maker Has Financial Ties to Police Chiefs

Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices, raising a host of conflict-of-interest questions.

US Considers Banning Type of Popular Rifle Ammunition

The Obama administration is considering banning a type of ammunition used in one of the most popular types of rifles because it says the bullets can pierce a police officer's protective vest when fired from a handgun.

Mines, Bombs Slow Iraqi Advance on Islamic State-Held Tikrit

Iraqi troops and Shiite militias battled the Islamic State group Tuesday on the outskirts of militant-held Tikrit, unable to advance further on Saddam Hussein's hometown as roadside mines and suicide attacks slowed their progress.

Netanyahu Assails Iran-Nuclear Talks in Congress Address

In a speech that stirred political intrigue in two countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday that negotiations underway between Iran and the United States would "all but guarantee" that Tehran will get nuclear weapons, a step that the world must avoid at all costs.

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Tim Ford

Former Mississippi House Speaker Tim Ford, whose ascent to leadership in 1988 brought a new era of openness to the legislative body, died Friday evening. He was 63.

GOP: House to Vote on Homeland Bill Without Conditions

In a major victory for President Barack Obama, the Republican-led House relented on Tuesday and will back legislation to fund the Homeland Security Department through the end of the budget year, without restrictions on immigration.

State Asks Judge to Keep Source of Execution Drugs Secret

Lawyers for Mississippi's prison system asked a judge Monday to declare that the name of any pharmacy that supplies a crucial execution drug is a secret that must not be revealed publicly.

Monday, March 2

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Sizing Up Jackson Races

The filing deadline for state and county offices has passed, and we have our first glimpse of the battle lines for the Aug. 4 party primaries and the November general election.

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Yolanda Williams

Yolanda Williams is in her third year as a professor of directing and a production manager at Jackson State University.

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Barbour to Lead Butler Snow Economic Development Firm

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is among the leaders of a new economic development firm formed by Ridgeland-based Butler Snow LLP.

Iraq Launches Operation to Retake Tikrit from Islamic State

Backed by allied Shiite, Sunni and Iranian fighters, Iraqi security forces launched a large-scale military operation Monday to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State extremist group, a major step in a campaign to reclaim territory in northern Iraq controlled by the militants.

Federal Judge Blocks Nebraska's Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge on Monday blocked Nebraska's gay marriage ban, but the decision will not take effect for a week and the state plans to appeal.