Stories for May 2015


Saturday, May 30

Feds: No Evidence that Black Man's Hanging was Homicide

Investigators have found no evidence that the hanging death of a black man in Mississippi was a homicide, and the civil rights probe into the death has been closed, the Justice Department said Friday.

Friday, May 29

Cuba Removed from US Terror List

The Obama administration on Friday formally removed Cuba from a U.S. terrorism blacklist, a decision hailed in Cuba as the healing of a decades-old wound and an important step toward normalizing relations between the Cold War foes.

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Senator David Blount

Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, a major voice in the Senate for Mississippi public schools, will speak at a Women for Progress of Mississippi on June 2: the organization's First Tuesdays Lunch & Learn.

Anthrax Shipments Came from Military Site in Utah Desert

The U.S. Army's mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples to government and commercial laboratories occurred at a military post in a desolate stretch of the Utah desert that has been testing chemical weapons since it opened in 1942.

US says China has Artillery Vehicles on Artificial Island

Two large artillery vehicles were detected on one of the artificial islands that China is creating in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said Friday, underscoring ongoing concerns that Beijing may try to use the land reclamation projects for military purposes.

Myanmar Warns Against 'Finger Pointing' at Migrant Meeting

A regional conference called to address the swelling tide of boat people in Southeast Asia ended Friday with no major breakthroughs, with Myanmar criticizing those blaming it for fueling the crisis and warning that "finger pointing" would not help.

9th Arrest Made in Deaths of 2 Mississippi Police Officers

A ninth person has been arrested in connection with the shooting deaths of two Mississippi police officers who were killed during a traffic stop earlier this month, authorities said.

Thursday, May 28

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Siemens: Sewer, Water Line Upgrades Done; Meter Project to Restart

Siemens, the company which Jackson is paying $91 million for water upgrades, said today that the portion of the contract that calls for water- and sewer-line improvements is complete and that the company has a green light to finish the other half of a massive water-meter change-out.

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Raising a Women's Movement

Despite what state leaders like Gov. Phil Bryant say about how great Mississippi is for women, a coalition of female advocates, business owners and lawmakers say the state has a long way to go toward being more woman friendly.

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Joe Horn

Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn has always been one of the more outspoken players in the league. He unleashed some of his thoughts on a variety of topics in a recent interview with

Visa Becomes First FIFA Sponsor to Warn it Could Jump Ship

Worried that their reputations will be tarnished by their links to FIFA, major sponsors are demanding that soccer's global governing body clean up its act, with Visa even warning it is prepared to jump ship.

Putin Accuses US of Meddling into FIFA Affairs

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of meddling in FIFA's affairs and hinted that it was part of an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.

Blues Legend B.B. King Honored with Memphis Processional

A Dixieland jazz band walked ahead of a slow black hearse and a crowd of thousands followed as the city of Memphis said farewell Wednesday to blues legend B.B. King with a tribute and processional down Beale Street.

Wednesday, May 27

Exxon Shareholders to Vote on Climate Change, Fracking

Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions.

Nebraska Abolishes Death Penalty in Landmark Override Vote

Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday over the governor's objections in a move pushed through the Legislature with unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment.

EPA Issues Final Rules Protecting Drinking Water, Streams

Drinking water for 117 million Americans will be protected under new government rules shielding small streams, tributaries and wetlands from pollution and development, the Obama administration said Wednesday.

Congress Wants to Know How Thieves Stole Tax Info from IRS

Congress is demanding answers about how identity thieves were able to steal the personal tax information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website.

Guantanamo Inmates Swapped for Bergdahl Could Move Freely

Five senior Taliban leaders released last year from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could move freely around the world next week as their one-year travel ban expires.

Soccer Officials Arrested in Zurich; World Cup Votes Probed

Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption.

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Congrats to Staff and Freelancers: It’s Award Season!

Spring weather, barbecue and canned beer on ice mean a little something extra at the Jackson Free Press in the month of May, because it's also the annual announcement era for a few of the key journalism award contests that we are a part of every year.

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Tests on Trial

Statewide, 14.83 percent of third graders—5,612 students—failed to reach the minimum score needed for entrance into fourth grade on the first test.

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Vikki Mumford: ‘Preserving Our History’

Vikki Mumford talked to the Jackson Free Press about why she is running for Hinds County circuit clerk for a third time.

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A Closer Look at ‘Crossroads’

Brandon, Miss., singer-songwriter Tommy Ray and I have crossed paths on more than a few occasions, usually with me catching the tail end of his sets at Bonny Blair's Irish Pub open-mic nights.

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Jerrell Jones

Hip-hop has been part of Jackson native and rapper Jerrell Jones' culture since he was born.

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Bianco Ball Pays Off

Ole Miss baseball's run to the College World Series semifinals last summer was a breakthrough for 14-year head coach Mike Bianco. It was his first trip to Omaha, Neb.—the annual site of the CWS—after years of coming up short in the NCAA tournament.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Get your baseball fix. The Mississippi Braves return to Trustmark Park for a 10-game homestand May 27 to June 5.

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Saints Must Get Kicker Right

The quiet time of the NFL offseason means you sometimes miss stories, unless they concern another player being arrested.

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Ain’t Nothing But the Birthplace of the Blues

The South is the birthplace of the blues, and Public Broadcasting Station's "Blues Road Trip" describes the Mississippi Delta as the genre's emotional heart.

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How to Not Waste Food

I'm really good at wasting food. I go to the grocery store and drop a fairly decent sum of money on healthy groceries, and then, somehow, I find a reason not to eat any of it. I go out to eat, or I wait so long to cook that it goes bad.

Better Education, Less Crime

A popularly cited statistic involves private corrections companies pouring over third-grade reading scores in a given jurisdiction to project how many prison beds will be needed in a decade, when those illiterate third graders go off track and run afoul of the law.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Judgement'

It's hard to reconcile Mike Huckabee's compassion for Josh Duggar with his rebuke of Mike Brown.

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Entrepreneurial Shark Tank

Mr. Announcement: "Ghetto Science Public Television welcomes its viewers to the premiere of the 'Hustle Family Shark Tank' reality television show, featuring panelists from the Hustle family."

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B.B. King’s Universal Language

Blues music may be singing the "No Future Tomorrow" blues once B.B. King hangs up his guitar for good, Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer warned back in 2004.

Lawyer says Sen. Cochran's Marriage Helps Blogger's Defense

A lawyer defending a man accused of crimes in taking photos of Sen. Thad Cochran's late wife says the legislator's Saturday marriage to his executive assistant will help his defense.

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Cedric Morgan: ‘Citizen-Friendly’

Cedric Morgan wants to bring his tech savvy and management skills and become the next Hinds County circuit clerk.

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On the Road, Through the Water and Underground with Kishia Powell

Reminiscent of scenes where a commander-in-chief visits troops in a conflict zone, Kishia Powell, Jackson's public-works director, spent a day touring facilities and meeting with workers under her command.

Tuesday, May 26

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Farewell to Cherokee Inn, Zoo Signs and MEMA Emergency Center

The Cherokee Drive Inn (1410 Old Square Road), long-time Best of Jackson winner for Best Dive Bar and Best Hangover Food, has closed down.

Obama Urges Senate to Renew Phone-Records Program

President Barack Obama is urging the Senate to renew the government's power to search Americans' telephone records, saying public safety demands it.

Charter Buying Time Warner Cable as TV Viewers Go Online

As TV watchers increasingly look online for their fix, cable companies are bulking up. In the latest round, Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable for $55.33 billion.

Amtrak to Install Long-Sought Cameras in Locomotives

Amtrak said Tuesday it will install video cameras inside locomotive cabs to record the actions of train engineers, a move that follows a deadly derailment earlier this month in which investigators are searching for clues to the train engineer's actions before the crash.

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Paul Kapp

Seeing historic buildings such as the Old Capitol or the Governor's Mansion wasn't a phenomenon for a teenage Paul Kapp. It was not until he left Jackson and went to college and studied architecture that he began to appreciate buildings such as those.

Monday, May 25

Sen. Thad Cochran Weds Kay Webber in Gulfport

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran — the Mississippi Republican whose 2014 primary campaign drew national attention over an aspiring blogger's photos of his bedridden wife — has married his longtime aide, his office said Monday.

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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.

Saturday, May 23

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Lawmakers Submit Arguments in School Funding Ballot Fight

Republican legislative leaders are asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to restore the original description for one of the two school funding amendments that will be on the ballot in November.

Friday, May 22

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Dr. Kelly Buckholdt

Dr. Kelly Buckholdt will be a guest speaker at the Butterflies by Grace workshop "Start Relating Before You Start Dating," designed to help teenagers understand the dangers they may encounter in relationships.

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Justice Department Cites Hinds County Over Jail Conditions

Federal officials say faltering efforts to improve conditions at Hinds County's two jails have been far inadequate to overcome decrepit physical conditions, rampant violence and poor staffing.

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Paramedics Steer Non-Emergency Patients Away from ERs

By using specially trained paramedics, health officials hope to help reduce avoidable trips to the emergency room and fill gaps in health care.

Senate Expected to Act on NSA Collection of Phone Records

The fate of the bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency is now before the Senate, in what is increasingly looking like a game of legislative chicken.

5 Things to Know About Ireland's Gay Marriage Referendum

Ireland's voters decide Friday whether to legalize gay marriage. While 19 other nations and most U.S. states have already done so, Ireland is the first to hold a national vote. Though voting is Friday, results won't be announced until Saturday.

US: Myanmar Should Share Responsibility for Rohingya Crisis

Navy ships from two countries scoured Southeast Asian waters Friday for boats believed to be carrying thousands of migrants with little food or water, and a top U.S. diplomat said Myanmar needs to shoulder some responsibility for the crisis. That's something it has been reluctant to do.

Amnesty says Torture of Ukraine War Prisoners is Rife

Both warring sides in eastern Ukraine are perpetrating war crimes almost daily, including torturing prisoners and summarily killing them, the Amnesty International rights group said in a report Friday.

Obama's Senate Allies Hope to Endorse His Trade Bill Friday

Supporters of President Barack Obama's trade agenda hope to fend off hostile Senate amendments Friday and send a major trade bill to the House, where another fierce debate awaits.

Hinds Judge Loses Fight Over Bar to Public Defender

The Mississippi Supreme Court says Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill cannot bar an assistant public defender from his court.

Thursday, May 21

Prosecutor: 6 Officers Indicted in Death of Freddie Gray

The state's attorney in Baltimore says all six officers charged in the police-custody death of Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury.

Supreme Court Sides with Public Defenders Over Judge Weill

The Mississippi Supreme Court has sided with the local public defender's office, ruling that Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill cannot bar an assistant public defender from his court.

Boy Scouts' Leader says Ban on Gay Adults not Sustainable

The national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, said Thursday that the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable, and called for change in order to avert potentially destructive legal battles.

Clinton's Benghazi Emails Show Correspondence with Adviser

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received monthly missives about the growing unrest in Libya from a longtime friend who was previously barred by the White House from working for her as a government employee, according to emails received on her personal account.

House Presses Senate to Pass Domestic Surveillance Changes

The White House and House leaders urged the Senate on Thursday to take up a bill that would end the National Security Agency's collection of American phone records while preserving other surveillance powers set to expire June 1.

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Prison Guard, Jailers Under Fire for Alleged Crimes

Several corrections and detention officers in central Mississippi have come under fire in recent days.

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James McMahon

Before the beginning of this year's college baseball season, few people would have considered University of Southern Mississippi pitcher James McMahon a possible candidate for the Ferriss Trophy, which the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame awards each year to the state's best baseball player.

Obama's Trade Agenda Clears Key Senate Hurdle

President Barack Obama's trade agenda cleared a key Senate hurdle and advanced toward passage on Thursday despite the strong opposition of most Democrats.

The Must-Sees of Summer 2015

Once May rolls around each year, tons of new activities pop up, old events spring back to life, and summer feels absolutely endless. That is, it does until it's over. Here are a few ideas to keep an eye out for as you soak up as much summer as possible.

Failed Launches Cast Shadow Over Russian Space Program

Back-to-back rocket launch failures have dealt Russia one of the heaviest blows to its space industry since the Soviet collapse—with national pride and billions of dollars at stake.

Malaysia Orders Sea Search-and-Rescue for Migrants

Four Malaysian navy ships began searching the seas for stranded boat people Thursday in the first official rescue operation since desperate migrants started washing onto Southeast Asia's shores, and a formerly reluctant Myanmar agreed to attend a regional meeting aimed at easing the crisis.

Thousands of Gallons of Oil Sopped Up from California Coast

More than 6,000 gallons of oil has been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from a spill that stretched across 9 miles of California coast, just a fraction of the sticky, stinking goo that escaped from a broken pipeline, officials said.

The Latest on Rohingya: US Lawmakers Urge More US Action

A bipartisan group of 23 U.S. lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to prevent Southeast Asian seas from becoming a "graveyard" for thousands of Rohingya boat people.

B.B. King to be Laid to Rest Next Week in Mississippi Delta

The body of blues legend B.B. King will return next week to the Mississippi Delta where his life and career began.

Wednesday, May 20

Differing Perceptions of Waco, Baltimore Bothering Some

The firefight in Waco is raising questions about perceptions and portrayals of crime in America, considering the vehement reaction that the earlier protests got from police, politicians and some members of the public.

Obama Calls Climate Change an 'Indisputable' Security Threat

President Barack Obama has argued for action on climate change as a matter of health, environmental protection and international obligation. On Wednesday, he added national security.

Malaysia, Indonesia to Offer Temporary Shelter to Migrants

In a major diplomatic breakthrough that could ease Southeast Asia's migrant crisis, Indonesia and Malaysia offered Wednesday to temporarily take in thousands of people who have been stranded at sea but appealed for international help, saying the crisis is a global, not regional, problem.

IS Group Seizes Part of Ancient Town of Palmyra in Syria

Islamic State militants seized parts of the ancient town of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday after fierce clashes with government troops, renewing fears the extremist group would destroy the priceless archaeological site if it reaches the ruins.

Banks Fined $2.5 Billion, to Plead Guilty to Market Rigging

Four big banks will pay $2.5 billion in fines and plead guilty to criminally manipulating global currency market going back to 2007.

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Jackson Eyes Federal DOT Grants

Mayor Tony Yarber hopes Uncle Sam can help the City of Jackson with some of its infrastructure challenges.

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Five Reasons You Should Go to Fondren Public

It wasn't until recently that I first visited Best of Jackson award winner Fondren Public. But when I went, I loved it. Here are five reasons why you should, too.

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Joining the Ruckus

Nestled within Deville Plaza off Interstate 55 lies a new and little-known music venue that is ripe for discovery. Appropriately named The Hideaway, owner Pete Suthar opened the doors about four months ago with the hope of bringing great music to Jackson "with a new twist," he says.

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New Millennial Passing

Bigotry is bigotry. Certain things shouldn't be tolerated, but allowing the speech promotes dialogue, which could shed light on the hate. Logical thinking will bring such ideologies to their knees and kill them.

Ole Miss Aims to Raise $1.5 Million to Honor Outgoing Leader

University of Mississippi supporters are seeking to raise $1.5 million to honor outgoing Chancellor Dan Jones.

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Spirit Through a Camera Lens

The International Museum of Muslim Cultures, located in the Arts Center of Mississippi, will host this year's "Capture the Spirit of Ramadan" exhibition which, for the first time, will be on American soil.

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The Thief in the Night

Following screening guidelines that health-care providers recommend could find cancer early—before symptoms appear. Early detection usually means a better outcome with earlier treatment options.

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What You Need to Know: High Heaven Trampoline Park

This summer, The Park will be abandoned no more. CircusTrix, the largest operator and developer of trampoline parks in the world, will bring High Heaven Trampoline Park into that space.

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Tunes of the Sun: Playlist Battle

Music can make everything better, even the heat of Mississippi summers. Here are some playlists from Assistant Editor Amber Helsel, Editorial Assistant Adria Walker and Music Editor Micah Smith, developed in the spirit of keeping you cool in the hottest months of the year.

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Drop by Drop

Darron Hinton, owner of Drip Drop Coffee Shop, has loved coffee all his life. He dreamed of starting a shop where he could enjoy making drinks and interacting with morning commuters seeking a cup of joe on their way to work.

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The Tough Work After LGBT Marriage

Married on Saturday, fired on Monday. Rob Hill, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign of Mississippi, said the scenario is a real possibility and fear of LGBT people and their advocates in the state, even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage next month.

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Police Relations: From Gibbs and Green to Freddie Gray

In Jackson, local leaders don't see police-community relations as good versus evil. In fact, they say the relationship between the cops and the community has drastically improved.

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Why ‘Black Lives Matter’ Matters

It's a very serious assertion that the country needs to value the lives of non-white people as highly as it values those of whites. Likewise, it needs to value the lives of those who live in poverty and work to improve the situation for all Americans.

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Lunderman: A League of Her Own

It was hard to pinpoint the most impressive thing about Neshoba Central High School softball senior star Hailey Lunderman the first time I saw her play.

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Baseball Disappointment

None of the three Southwestern Athletic Conference schools from Mississippi will go to a NCAA Regional. Texas Southern University won the SWAC baseball tournament, so the league will only get one team in the regionals.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Jackson Preparatory School baseball (35-4) won its third straight MAIS AAA state championship with a 6-3 win in a decisive game three over Madison Ridgeland Academy.

Have a Little Fun, Why Don’t You?

It's easy to fall into the trap of viewing Jackson, the metro area and Mississippi as a place where nothing will ever change, where there's nothing to do. But just look a little closer, and you can see that it's a changing place.

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Zoubir Tabout

When you walk into Zoubir Tabout Antiques & Interieurs, you are not only greeted by an array of items from another era, such as paintings, hats and furniture; the shop bulldog, Dagobert, also greets you.

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The Steep Price of Summer Slide

Research from suggests that unequal access to summer learning opportunities accounts for more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students.

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The Streaming Landscape

When it comes to music-streaming services, I'm usually late to the party, and not fashionably so.

Tuesday, May 19

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The JFP a Finalist for 4 National Altweekly Awards

The Jackson Free Press is a finalist for four awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia for the paper's coverage of Michelle Byrom death-penalty case, LGBT issues across Mississippi, government transparency and accountability and opinion writing.

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Zinn Touts Jackson Ties in Home Stretch

Going into the final two weeks before a runoff election for Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, Walter Zinn is emphasizing his time spent working for the City of Jackson.

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Firefly Festival, Public Works Week and Merit Health

The Firefly Festival will take place Saturday, June 13, from 6 to 10 p.m. The event will feature live music and entertainment throughout the evening and will serve as a venue for regional fine artists.

Thursday's Red Nose Day TV Special: Comedy for a Good Cause

Writer-director Richard Curtis is bringing Red Nose Day to the United States with a star-studded three-hour TV event airing Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.

Court Rejects State Dept. Plan for Release of Clinton Emails

A federal judge rejected the State Department's proposal to release portions of 55,000 pages of emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by next January, saying the agency must instead conduct a "rolling production" of the emails.

Fall of Ramadi Raises Doubts About US Strategy in Iraq

The Islamic State group's capture of Ramadi, a key provincial capital in western Iraq, calls into question the Obama administration's strategy in Iraq.

Unions Urge Amtrak to Put 2nd Engineer in Every Locomotive

Railroad unions are urging Amtrak to put a second engineer in locomotives in the wake of a deadly derailment last week in Philadelphia.

Judge: Boston Bomber's Sentencing Hearing Will be in June

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death next month after at least 20 victims describe the impact the terror attack had on their lives.

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David Gates

David Gates, president of the Mississippi Division of Atmos Energy, will serve as chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council for 2015-2016.

Judge to Weigh Desegregation Options for Cleveland Schools

Sixty-one years and one day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial school segregation was illegal in Brown vs. Board of Education, lawyers Monday presented clashing visions of what one Mississippi school district must do to comply with that ruling.

Monday, May 18

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City Looks to Fill $700 Million Infrastructure Funding Gap

Several shiny new pieces of recently purchased heavy equipment rumbled through the streets of downtown Jackson this morning.

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Erica Conner

Jackson Public Schools recently named Johnson Elementary School teacher Erica Conner the 2015 Teacher of the Year.

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Florida Pot Advocate Pulls Support for Miss Initiative

A Florida advocate of legalizing marijuana says a threat prompted him to withdraw his offer to pay supporters of Mississippi's petition drive to gather signatures on petitions for a statewide election.

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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.

Saturday, May 16

Mississippi Power Files Rate Plans to Pay for Kemper Plant

Mississippi Power Co. has filed three proposals seeking higher rates to pay for the $6.2 billion power plant that it's building in Kemper County.

Friday, May 15

Clintons Earned $25 Million From Speeches Since January 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton reports she and former President Bill Clinton have earned more than $25 million in speaking fees since January 2014.

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Yarber: Infrastructure Red Tape Hurts Black Cities

Mayor Tony Yarber feels like he's between a rock and a hard place when it comes to addressing Jackson's failing infrastructure.

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B.B. King

B.B. King believed anyone could play the blues, and that "as long as people have problems, the blues can never die."

San Francisco Police Under Fire for Racist Texts

The original charges were shocking: Six San Francisco police officers were accused of stealing from drug dealers. Then federal prosecutors released racist and homophobic text messages.

1,000 Migrants Land in Indonesia, Thailand in Growing Crisis

More than 1,000 people fleeing persecution in Myanmar and poverty in Bangladesh came ashore in different parts of Southeast Asia on Friday, becoming the latest migrants to slip into countries that have made it clear they are not welcome.

House Set to Pass Defense Policy Bill Opposed by Obama

The House is on track to pass a nearly $612 billion defense policy bill, a measure that usually garners bipartisan support but this year has drawn a veto threat from President Barack Obama, angered a Shiite cleric in Iraq and has Democrats fighting Republicans over federal spending caps.

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B.B. King Dead at Age 89

B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

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Bill Will Open More of Gulf to Energy Exploration

Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are supporting legislation to expand energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, May 14

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JPD Remembers Fallen Police, Stresses Trust Building

After hoisting a crisp new American flag above Jackson police headquarters, Jackson's top law-enforcement officials remembered officers who've fallen in the line of duty.

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Melvin Rodriguez

Jackson State University started the SWAC Baseball Tournament with a 5-10 loss to Southern University on Wednesday, May 13. If the Tigers are going to keep their season alive and have hopes of a regional berth, they will need the SWAC Player of the Year and Co-Hitter of the Year, Melvin Rodriguez, to have some big games for the rest of the tournament.

House to Vote on Iran Nuclear Bill

The House was poised Thursday to overwhelmingly approve a bill that would allow Congress to review and potentially reject a nuclear deal with Iran that's still being negotiated by the U.S. and its partners.

Senate Under Pressure After House Votes to End NSA Program

After the House's lopsided bipartisan vote to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records, the Senate is under considerable pressure to pass a similar measure. If it doesn't, lawmakers risk letting the authority to collect the records expire June 1, along with other important counterterrorism provisions.

1st Full Day of Deliberations Begins in Boston Bombing Trial

Jurors began their first full day of deliberations Thursday to decide whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves life in prison or the death penalty.

Malaysia Turns Away 800 Boat People; Thailand Spots 3rd Boat

Rohingya and Bangladeshis abandoned at sea by traffickers had nowhere to go Thursday as Malaysia turned away two crammed migrant boats and Thailand kept at bay a large vessel with hundreds of hungry people.

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The Jackson Free Press Wins 7 SPJ Awards

The Jackson Free Press has won seven southeast regional Society of Professional Journalists, including five first-place prizes.

Wednesday, May 13

Zinn, Kelly Headed to US House Runoff

Democrat Walter Zinn and Republican Trent Kelly will spend the next three weeks competing for support in a north Mississippi congressional race after emerging from a field of 13 candidates in a special election.

Vatican Recognizes State of Palestine in New Treaty

The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.

Another Refugee Boat Located off Penang, Malaysia

A boat crammed with more than 500 refugees, likely Rohingya and Bangladeshis, was found Wednesday off the coast of Penang island in northern Malaysia, a person involved in the situation said.

Hungary Honors its 700,000 Victims of Soviet Labor Camps

Hungary this year is commemorating the estimated 700,000 of its civilians and soldiers taken away 70 years ago to the Gulag, the forced-labor camps of the Soviet Union.

EU Urges Solidarity on Migrant Wave, Plans to Enforce Rules

The European Union forged ahead Wednesday with a controversial plan to introduce refugee quotas to ease pressure on countries battling the migrant influx, despite strong opposition to the scheme.

Kerry Fills in NATO Allies on Putin Meeting

A day after lengthy talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was filling in allies during a gathering of NATO foreign ministers in the southern Turkish town of Antalya.

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Pencils Down, Pints Up!

Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919) brings Jackson's beer aficionados and hops-loving hopefuls together with an MBA program—Master of Beer Appreciation.

Funeral Set for Second Mississippi Officer Shot to Death

Mourning for two slain Mississippi police officers will continue this week, with their funerals set for Thursday and Saturday.

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McComb Educators: Where Have all the Black Boys Gone?

It's not yet known how many of the black males who entered McComb High School four years ago will cross the stage at graduation and pick up diplomas this month, but the most recent statistics provide a frightening glimpse of failure.

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Bridging Soul and Rock

Like "Boys & Girls," it took a few times listening to "Sound & Color" for me to like it, but it's now one of my favorites. The record shows how much Brittany Howard and the rest of the band have progressed since their debut album.

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Buy the Lady a Drink

I firmly believe manners are ultimately about being gracious and courteous and making others comfortable. They're not about being bossy or controlling or making others feel inferior.

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A Lighter Treat

My recipe for stuffed French toast is a healthier version of the traditional recipe. It uses ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese, and fresh fruit and real maple syrup.

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Getting to Graduation: Mississippi’s Statewide Push to Keep Kids in School

The Legislature's goal to increase the statewide graduation rate to 85 percent by the 2018-2019 school year has, in part, fueled Mississippi to work hard to keep students in school.

Time to Rethink Third-Grade Tests

As predicted, a sizable chunk of Mississippi's third-grade students failed the so-called third-grade reading gate test and may have to repeat the whole school year.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Behaved'

What is this nonsense about Mississippians being "better behaved" than people in Baltimore? The underlying sentiment of Bryant's remark seems to be that the power structure here has sufficiently crushed its citizens into submission.

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No Justice, No Peace

Mr. Announcer: "In the ghetto criminal-justice system, the people are represented by members of the newly established Ghetto Science Community Peace Keeping Unit."

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Why Don’t We Honor Softball?

While college baseball may overshadow softball for some fans, it's just as competitive and filled with great players.

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A Mississippi-Memphis Adventure

When the schedule came out for the second round of the NBA playoffs, I saw that the Memphis Grizzlies would host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, May 9, at the FedExForum, and I decided to get tickets and make the trip an adventure of sorts.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

Legendary Alcorn State University basketball coach Dave Whitney passed away Sunday, May 10, at the age of 85. Whitney led the Braves to their first ever NCAA Tournament game win by a historically black college.

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On Punishment

An attorney friend put it best when she told me that equality and progress can't just mean taking the same broken system that victimizes black and brown folks and applying it to white people.

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Othering and Belonging

Building communities of belonging requires conscious engagement. It starts when you reflect on these three questions: 1) Where do I other? 2) What does it look and feel like? 3) How does it separate me from my humanity?

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Monica Flippin Wynn

For Monica Flippin Wynn, social media is not a distraction from her class; it provides useful tools for her students.

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Funding Bigfoot

Director Michael Brouphy, who moved to Brandon from New Orleans about eight years ago, began working on the script for his upcoming film, "Tsaaloh Expedition," in 2013.

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Defining Effective School Discipline in JPS

On May 6, Jackson Public Schools seemed to be suffering from a split personality. That morning, at Wingfield High School in south Jackson, education advocates and school officials hailed the school for lowering discipline problems by 94 percent between 2013 and 2014 without kicking students out of school.

Tuesday, May 12

Congress Passes Bill Setting Up Alert when Police are Killed

Congress has passed a bill setting up a national alert system whenever a police officer is killed or injured.

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Band of the Day: Naught

Whether it's the inherent volume, distortion or darker tones, heavy-metal music isn't for everyone. The members of Jackson's Naught have seen those elements turn listeners away in their former projects and have learned from those moments.

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Magnolia MMA, Liquid Light, New Stage and Baptist Health

Jackson martial artist Jeremiah Liddell opened Magnolia Mixed Martial Arts (826 Foley St.) one month ago with the intent of bringing a casual, friendly, diverse and inclusive learning environment for both self-defense and fitness to Jackson.

Another Major Earthquake Shakes Nepal, Killing at Least 37

A major earthquake hit a remote mountain region of Nepal on Tuesday, killing at least 37 people while triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the Himalayan nation was ravaged by its worst quake in decades.

NFL Suspends Brady 4 Games for Deflated Footballs

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are preparing for a fight. The reigning Super Bowl MVP will appeal his four-game suspension, his agent said, and the team threw its "unconditional" support behind its quarterback after the NFL came down hard on its biggest star in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Obama Chooses Chicago's South Side for Presidential Library

President Barack Obama has decided to build his presidential library on the South Side of Chicago, where his political career began.

Malaysia to Push Back Rohingya Unless Boats are Sinking

A crisis involving boatloads of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea deepened Tuesday as Malaysia said it would turn away any more of the vessels unless they were sinking.

2 Men in Custody After Shooting Near California University

Violence again struck the community near the University of California, Santa Barbara, a year after a 22-year-old's rampage left six students dead.

Verizon Barges into Online Video, Buying AOL for $4.4B

Verizon is buying AOL for about $4.4 billion, advancing the telecom's push in both mobile and advertising fields.

Hollywood Accused of Gender Bias in Hiring Women Directors

The ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project said Tuesday they are asking federal and California civil rights agencies to investigate what they call "the systemic failure" to hire women directors in the film and television industry.

Monday, May 11

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28% of 3rd Graders in JPS Might Be Held Back

Results from the so-called third-grade gate test, which requires students to demonstrate reading proficiency before moving on to the fourth grade, show that 28 percent of JPS' third graders may have to be held back.

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Rod Hill

Recently, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Rod L. Hill, co-founder of Integrated Management Services, along with John D. Calhoun, the 8(a) Graduate of the Year for both the state of Mississippi and the SBA Southeastern Region.

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Hattiesburg Mourns 2 Slain Officers

With lowered flags and prayers, a southern Mississippi city is mourning two police officers, while the four people arrested after their shooting deaths await an initial court appearance Monday.

US Secretary of State to Meet Putin at Russia Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Russia on Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks aimed at mending relations driven to new post-Cold War lows by disagreements over Ukraine and Syria.

1,600 Rohingya, Bangladeshi Migrants Rescued, Others at Sea

Hundreds of migrants abandoned at sea by smugglers in Southeast Asia have reached land and relative safety in the past two days. But an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar remain trapped in crowded, wooden boats, migrant officials and activists said.

US Defends Record Before Top UN Human Rights Body

The United States heard widespread concern Monday over excessive use of force by law-enforcement officials against minorities as it faced the U.N.'s main human rights body for a review of its record.

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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.

Sunday, May 10

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3 People Arrested in Deaths of Hattiesburg Officers

Two Mississippi police officers were shot to death during an evening traffic stop turned violent, a state law enforcement spokesman said Sunday. Three suspects were in custody, including two who are charged with capital murder.

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2 Hattiesburg Police Officers Fatally Shot; Suspect Sought

A coroner says two Mississippi police officers have died after being shot in the line of duty.

Friday, May 8

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Mary Hill

International Food Manufacturer’s Association recently awarded her the 2015 Silver Plate Award

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Synthetic Pot Leads to Nationwide Spike in Hospitalizations

A huge nationwide spike in hospitalizations last month caused by a class of drugs often called "synthetic marijuana" illustrates the potency and dangers of the chemicals used to make them and the shifty tactics authorities believe manufacturers are using to evade regulation.

ACT to Expand Computer-Based Testing

ACT test takers take note: The No. 2 pencil is losing its cachet. Greater numbers of high school students will be able to take the college entrance exam on a computer next year.

Cameron's Conservatives Win Big in Surprise UK Election

The Conservative Party swept to power Friday in Britain's parliamentary elections, winning an unexpected majority that returns Prime Minister David Cameron to 10 Downing Street in a stronger position than before.

Justice Dept. Launches Investigation of Baltimore Police

The Justice Department will conduct a broad investigation into the Baltimore police force in search of law enforcement practices that are unconstitutional and violate civil rights, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday.

Thursday, May 7

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Siemens Water Meter Work Could Resume Within Weeks

Work could soon resume on the Siemens water-meter installation project, a top Jackson public-works official said May 7.

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Kaleb Eulls

Former Yazoo County High School star and Mississippi State University defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls landed in a perfect spot when he signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent.

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Board Sets Test Score that Fails 15 Percent of Third Graders

About 6,000 Mississippi third graders may not advance to the fourth grade, after the Mississippi Board of Education set a passing score on the state's third-grade reading test.

Senate to Hold Test Vote on Iran Nuclear Bill

Legislation giving Congress a chance to review and possibly reject any final nuclear deal with Iran faced a test vote Thursday in the Senate, with the majority leader urging passage.

US Appeals Court: NSA Phone Record Collection is Excessive

The bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the government exceeds what Congress has allowed, a federal appeals court said Thursday as it asked Congress to step in and decide how best to balance national security and privacy interests.

Thousands of Nepalese Pray for Earthquake Victims

Thousands of Nepalese dressed in white offered prayers and flowers at home and in temples Thursday in a Hindu ritual marking the end of a 13-day mourning period for those killed in the country's massive earthquake.

Bryant Asks Court to Reject Rewording of Initiative Ballot

Gov. Phil Bryant says no court should have the power to reword how the Legislature phrased its version of an education funding ballot initiative.

Wednesday, May 6

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Commish OKs $13 Million First-Year Sales Tax Plan

The commission in charge of Jackson's special sales tax plan approved spending approximately $13 million.

Nigerian Troops Save 25 More Kids, Women from Boko Haram

Nigerian troops rescued 25 more children and women from Boko Haram early Wednesday as the soldiers destroyed seven more of the extremists' camps in a northeastern forest stronghold, the army spokesman said.

Gunman's Hashtag Hinted at Texas Plot

About 20 minutes before the shooting at a Texas cartoon contest that featured images of the Prophet Muhammad, a final tweet posted on an account linked to one of the gunmen said: "May Allah accept us as mujahideen," or holy warriors.

State Official: Clinton Email Practices 'Not Acceptable'

A State Department assistant secretary said Wednesday it's "not acceptable" for any agency employee to conduct government business on a private email server as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did.

Governor Lifts State of Emergency for Baltimore

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for Baltimore and called in 3,000 National Guardsmen and 1,000 officers from around the state and country. Hogan rescinded the state of emergency Wednesday and said all of the troops and state police had been pulled out.

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From Affleck to Baltimore: Sh*t Our Ancestors Did

Forget a "sagging feeling"—it's a gut-punch to discover you descend from a slave owner or plantation overseer, especially when your relatives have laughed off such a notion your whole life, always adding, "Our family was too poor to own slaves." Right.

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Stephanie Burks

When the Jackson Free Press first asked to interview Stephanie Burks, her immediate reaction was, "Are you sure it's me and not my mom?"

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Imperfect Parenting: Good Enough is Just Fine

Mother's Day is a great time to explore and unwind some of the myths and expectations that put moms under pressure. Not all of them come from the finger-waggers on the playground: Moms are often the victims of self-inflicted friendly fire.

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Fly, Fight, Win: The JFP Interview with Dr. Valerie Short

In keeping with the spirit of the U.S. Air Force's motto "Aim High" Dr. Valerie Adream Smartt Short has set her sights on the state's highest office.

Mississippi Gets $2.4 Million to Improve Reading Teachers

Mississippi will get $2.4 million to train veteran teachers to help other teachers improve reading instruction.

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Family Business

The 2015 NFL draft was big for the New Orleans Saints. The team had five of the top 80 picks in the first two days with two first-rounders, one second-rounder and two third-rounders.

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Mississippi in the NFL Draft

Here are the top five Mississippi storylines to follow from the 2015 NFL draft.

Home Cookin’ Capsule

The Mississippi High School Activities Association Track and Field Championships are Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at Pearl High School.

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In Memoriam

The day she was born in Jackson, April 7, 1965, doctors told Ginna Stewart's parents, Alma and Walter Whittington, that, she would never be able to walk or talk. "Her parents told the doctor, 'You don't know how much faith we have,'" her husband, Jim Stewart, says.

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Mother’s Day Meals

Your mother has probably spent her entire life taking care of you in one way or another. This Mother's Day, which is Sunday, May 10, treat her to brunch at a local restaurant and make her feel special.

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Crunching MDOC’s Budget Numbers

On any given morning anywhere where in Hinds County, you're bound to see them. Clad in green-and-white jumpsuits, they pick up rubbish along the side of the road, unload trucks and even can help extinguish fires.

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Mr. Zinn and Mr. Whitwell Want to Go to Washington

Walter Howard Zinn and Quentin Whitwell, both former Jackson residents, are two of the 13 men competing in a May 12 special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, who died in February, as the representative for the state's 1st Congressional District.

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Freddie Gray Death Highlights Lead Poisoning Crisis

Lead absorption at any rate can cause harm to a child. Lead exposure can affect IQ, focus, memory and academic achievement.

Tax Commish Owes City Deference, Mayor Owes it to Council

After the Legislature passed a bill in 2009 empowering Jackson to hold a referendum on whether to impose a 1-percent sales tax on certain goods, then-Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. was always reluctant to move forward, fearing that a 10-member oversight commission the legislation called for was a threat to the city's independence.

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Drafted by Mississippi

In July 1992, I was born at Baptist Memorial in Southaven, Miss. From the moment I took my first breath at 8:41 a.m. to the present, I have been a Mississippian. Not by choice, but by birth.

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Shelly Fairchild: Timeline of Your Life

Singer Shelly Fairchild has a successful music career in Nashville, due in part to her Mississippi upbringing.

Tuesday, May 5

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Beer Week at Saltine, Taylor Reed's Taco Shop and More

Chef Jesse Houston, owner of Saltine Oyster Bar (622 Duling Ave. Suite 201), will celebrate American Craft Beer Week May 11-17 with seven days of beer-centric events featuring limited-release draft brews and pairing events.

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Gov. Chris Christie

Chris Christie's chances of winning the Mississippi Republican primary are about as good as the chance that a commuter on the George Washington Bridge would make it home in time for dinner in September 2013—very small.

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Clinton to Call for 'Full and Equal Path to Citizenship'

Hillary Rodham Clinton intends to draw an early distinction with Republicans on illegal immigration, pointing to a pathway to citizenship as an essential part of any overhaul in Congress.

IS Claims Responsibility for Texas Cartoon Attack

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a weekend attack at a center near Dallas, Texas, that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad — though it offered no evidence of a direct link to the attackers.

Kerry Visits Somalia; 1st Such Trip for a Secretary of State

Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Somalia Tuesday in a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country. He is the first top U.S. diplomat ever to visit Somalia.

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Superintendent to Launch Own Review of Common Core Standards

Mississippi education officials will launch their own voluntary review of the Common Core academic standards, even after Gov. Phil Bryant vetoed a bill that would have created an outside panel to examine the standards.

Monday, May 4

'Exceptional' NYPD Officer Dies from Gunshot Wound to Head

A 25-year-old police officer shot in the head over the weekend while attempting to stop a man suspected of carrying a handgun died Monday from his injuries, the third New York City officer slain on duty in five months.

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ACLU Launches Phase II of Police-Watching App

Police brutality? The ACLU of Mississippi has an app for that. Today, the ACLU rolled out the iOS version of its Mobile Justice Mississippi app.

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Analysis: Community College Fight Attracts Little Attention

Mississippi's Community College Board should be thankful that the state's College Board got crossways with University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones.

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Willie Sugarcapps

Since joining forces three years ago, Americana super-band Willie Sugarcapps has taken on a life of its own for its prestigious members—vocalist and guitarist Grayson Capps, multi-instrumentalist Will Kimbrough, guitarist Corky Hughes and the husband-and-wife vocal and multi-instrumental duo Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford.

Pentagon Accused of Withholding Information About Sex Crimes

In a scathing critique of the Defense Department's efforts to curb sexual assaults, a U.S. senator warned Monday that the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is "vastly underreported" and that victims continue to struggle for justice.

S. Korea Urges N. Korea to Release New York Univ. Student

South Korea on Monday urged North Korea to quickly free a South Korean student of New York University detained in the North for illegally entering the country.

In the Face of IS Successes, al-Qaida Adapts, Grows Stronger

In a competition with the Islamic State group for recruits and prestige across the Middle East, al-Qaida has sought to distinguish itself from its rival's bloodthirstiness, taking an approach that in jihadi circles would be considered pragmatic.

Things to Know About the Situation in Baltimore

Life is starting to return to normal in Baltimore after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted a city-wide curfew that was in effect for five nights.

FBI Searches Phoenix Home in Texas Prophet Contest Shooting

Federal agents searched an apartment in Phoenix in an investigation into a shooting outside a suburban Dallas venue hosting a provocative contest for Prophet Muhammad cartoons, the FBI confirmed Monday.

Britain's New Princess Named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

Britain's newborn princess has been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana — seen as a tribute to Prince William's parents and grandmother.

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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, May 1

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MDOC Move Draws Fire from Hinds County

Officials with the Hinds County Sheriff's Office are blasting a decision from the state corrections commissioner to end a program that provides inmate labor to the county.

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Augustus Bennett

In the nine months that Augustus Bennett has been an intern with New Stage Theatre, he has developed his acting abilities. Now, he'll be sharpening his skills off the stage as the director of the Unframed series production of Diana Son's "Stop Kiss."

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Prosecutor Charges 6 Baltimore Officers in Gray's Death

Baltimore's top prosecutor announced criminal charges Friday against all six officers suspended after a man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody, saying "no one is above the law."

Gov. Bryant Expects to Name New College Board Member Soon

Mississippi Gov. Bryant says he will act quickly to choose a new state College Board member after he moved one of his own recently confirmed board nominees into a different job.