Thursday, December 30
‘Fifth Wave’ of COVID-19 Here, MSDH Leadership Says
Leadership among the Mississippi State Department of Health warned that the fifth wave of coronavirus is here, with more than 13,000 new cases of COVID-19 identified since Dec. 22, the majority of which consist of the highly contagious omicron variant.
Mississippi Supreme Court Appoints Senior Status Judge, Justice to Hinds County Cases
The lawsuit alleging slander that New Jerusalem Church Pastor Dwayne Pickett brought against two City of Jackson council members advanced on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, when Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph assigned retired judge Lamar Pickard to the case.
JSU P3 Group Endowment, MSU and USM Donations for Teacher Training
Jackson State University recently received a $150,000 endowment from The P3 Group, Inc., the largest African American-owned real-estate development firm in the United States. The P3 Group also donated $150,000 to Florida A&M University.
James B. Tucker, Who Prosecuted Mississippi Corruption, Dies at 82
James B. Tucker, an attorney who prosecuted corrupt Mississippi public officials during a 30-year career with the Justice Department, died Tuesday. He was 82.
Wednesday, December 29
Jackson Mayor Closes City Offices Amid Virus Surge
The mayor of Mississippi's capital city has ordered the closure of city hall and other offices due to a surge in new confirmed coronavirus cases, particularly the highly contagious delta and omicron variants.
Kickstarting ‘NEW JXN’: Violinist Shellie Brown Kemp Named Symphony Concertmistress
As a little girl growing up in Jackson, Miss., Shellie Brown Kemp loved to attend her older sister Bonnie’s violin lessons. “I heard her play all the time,” she recalls. “I really wanted to play because I looked up to her and I loved how it sounded.”
Remembering Dorothy ‘Dot’ Benford
Dorothy “Dot” Benford, a longtime political activist and 2020 Democratic nominee in Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District who also ran unsuccessfully for several political offices in the state for many years, died of natural causes on Sunday, Dec. 26, at age 79.
State Legislatures in U.S. Poised to Act on Abortion Rights
Early in the new year, the Vermont House of Representatives is due to begin debate on an amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution and send the question to voters in the fall.
Tuesday, December 28
COVID-19 Tests, Monoclonal Treatments in Short Supply amid Case Surge
As the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S., the Mississippi State Department of Health reported a skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases this week. MSDH reported 2,698 new cases today alone, along with 22 fatalities.
Mississippi University for Women Coach Dedrick Burnett Wears Many Other Hats
Burnett knows more than just travel plans for The W’s student-athletes, he learns a great deal more through his position as adviser to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, made up of two athletes from each team at The W.
Monday, December 27
Pickett v. Banks: Judge Green Asks Supreme Court for Special Judge
Senior Judge Tomie Green of Hinds County Circuit Court asked Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael K. Randolph on Dec. 21 to appoint a special judge to a slander case that New Jerusalem Church's senior pastor, Dwayne K. Pickett Sr., filed against two Jackson city council members on Oct. 14.
Jessie Daniels’ ‘Nice White Ladies’ Sparks Discussion About Race, Privilege In Jackson
Louwanda Evans, who said she was one of two Black women on faculty at the private college in downtown Jackson, said her daily encounters with race complicated her reading of the book. “I’m surrounded by ‘nice, white ladies’ all the time,” Evans remarked. “I have a hard time making friends. It’s hard for me to trust white women.”
Private Companies Could Manage Some Mississippi State Parks
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will seek bids soon from vendors to handle the functions of at least one park, communications director Jennifer Head said.
Analysis: Reeves on Board with Reviving Initiative Process
Days before the Supreme Court ruling, health care professionals announced they were starting to gather signatures on an initiative to expand Medicaid in Mississippi. They were trying to bypass the Republican-led Legislature, which has steadfastly rejected expanding the government health insurance program to people who work in low-wage jobs without private insurance.
Jackson Public Schools Ups Cybersecurity after Hacker Attack
Since the Feb. 6, 2020 attack, the district has implemented a cyber-education program for employees and a new anti-virus and malware protection program.
Thursday, December 23
FDA Authorizes Pfizer, Merck COVID-19 Pills
“Today’s authorization introduces the first treatment for COVID-19 that is in the form of a pill that is taken orally—a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the Dec. 22 FDA press release.
Remains Identified after Mississippi Man's Pre-Execution Tip
Mississippi authorities say they have identified the remains of a woman, identified as 40-year-old Felicia Cox, found following a tip from inmate David Neal Cox prior to his execution last month.
Needy Mississippi Families to Receive $1,000 for Holidays
More than 1,500 low-income Mississippi families are set to receive a one-time sum of $1,000 from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, officials said. To be eligible, households must qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that provides benefits for families with needy children.
Freshman Denae Carter has played a major part in the Bulldogs’ outstanding non-conference play, with Philadelphia, Pa., native Carter playing in all 12 games and starting in two so far this season.
Wednesday, December 22
Holiday Treats and Fun for Everyone to Close 2021
For those wanting to take advantage of the more moderate weather to safely venture out and check out what the metro has to offer this holiday season, the Jackson Free Press has assembled a sampling of food and event news tips to browse.
City Council Approves $2 Million for Roads, Cemetery Transfer to Jackson State University
"This will take some (pressure) off the City who don't have to do the maintenance, and it will be a part of the plan where Jackson State (University) is improving and monitoring the heritage of our community there in the Washington Edition," he said. "So we certainly appreciate this move forward."
Judge Reeves Schedules Hearing Tuesday on Holding Hinds County in Contempt for Jail Conditions
“The County thus respectfully asks that the Court hold in abeyance any decision to engage in such an extraordinary use of power until July 1, 2022, to allow the County additional time to continue its ongoing efforts and to prove it can make even more significant, positive change at the RDC,” they wrote.
Tuesday, December 21
UPDATED: State Health Leadership Urges Holiday Caution as U.S. Sees First Omicron Death
State health leadership is urging Mississippians to take safety precautions against COVID-19 this holiday season, as the Mississippi State Department of Health reports slow but steady increases in the number of cases.
Lifelong Jackson native Johnny Hubbard has served as an adjunct professor of jazz education at Jackson State University since January 2015.
Mississippi Governor Sets $1K Bonuses for State Law Officers
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday that he is approving $1,000 in hazard pay bonuses for state law enforcement officers, and they will receive the money by the end of this month.
Watchdog Group: Mississippi Prison Industries Not Effective
A Mississippi legislative watchdog group is questioning the effectiveness of a nonprofit company that provides job training for people in prison.
Monday, December 20
Crisler Weighs 'Options' After Circuit Clerk Rejects Election Boxes’ Examination Request
Former Hinds County Interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler requested to examine the election boxes in a letter hand-delivered to the Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zach Wallace on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
The Culture Concert, Kwanzaa Celebration at the Two Museums and Soule' Cafe
Jackson Indie Music Week, a week-long series of concerts, showcases, panels and parties spotlighting creatives from all genres, is partnering with the Cool Kids from Third Coast Radio to host "The Culture Concert" at Hal and Mal's in downtown Jackson on Friday, Jan. 14.
Trademark Tussle: Ole Miss Objects to Similar New Miss Logo
A documentary about Mississippi Delta sharecropper and civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer will open the 10th season of the Emmy award-winning PBS series, America ReFramed.
Mississippi Blood Services Requests Donations Amid Shortage
A not-for-profit blood service in Mississippi says it's facing an urgent need for donations from people with all blood types.
Friday, December 17
Councilman Foote: Why I voted for a Water-Sewer Rate Increase, but not a Garbage Disposal Rate Increase
On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Jackson City Council, at a special council meeting, voted for a 20% increase in the water bill of residents and businesses but rejected a 70% hike in garbage collection cost from $20.80 to $35.
Endowed Scholarship and Education Grant at JSU, MSU Field of the Year Award
Jackson State University alum Marcus A. Thompson recently established a $50,000 scholarship endowment to help pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies and other fees for eligible Mississippi natives who are studying special education.
Hinds County Wants More Time to Fix Problems at Jail
A Mississippi county has asked a federal judge for more time to address problems at its detention center.
GOP Governors Challenge Pentagon Over Guard Vaccine Mandate
Texas' Republican governor on Thursday told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that the state will not direct its National Guard members to comply with a Biden administration order requiring all members of the military to get vaccinated for COVID-19, as GOP opposition to the mandate grows.
Thursday, December 16
Celebration Bowl 2021 Preview
While other college football programs in Mississippi have had several high points this season, Jackson State University's momentum has become undeniable. The Tigers are enjoying an unprecedented run of success.
MSMA Town Hall Addresses COVID-19, Vaccine Concerns
As the United States marked the grim record of 800,000 deaths due to COVID-19, state health leadership and physicians attended a Dec. 14 Mississippi State Medical Association virtual town hall to speak to concerns patients raised about COVID-19 and vaccines with their physicians across the state.
Lawmakers Disagree on Jackson Split in New congressional map
A group of Mississippi lawmakers finalized a proposal on Wednesday for how the state’s four congressional districts could look in the next decade, one that will largely preserve Republicans' 3-to-1 advantage.
Corps Cancels Mississippi Flood Project That EPA Rejected
The Army Corps of Engineers has canceled a $450 million Mississippi flood control project following the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to overturn the project that had been greenlit in the final days of the Trump administration.
Wednesday, December 15
'Addressing a Human Need': City Leaders Ask for 'Equitable Share' of EPA Water Infrastructure Revolving Loan
City of Jackson officials have appealed for fairness in distributing the nearly $75 million in water-infrastructure funding that Mississippi is getting in 2022 from the Infrastructure Bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in November.
‘My Hometown Too’: Laurel’s Downtown Blossoms Despite City’s Complicated History
Nearly three decades ago, most of the once-bustling businesses in downtown Laurel, Miss., had shuttered their windows, and the brick streets that criss-crossed the Pine Belt town’s center were void of pedestrians and drivers alike.
Tuesday, December 14
MSDH Reports First Pediatric Flu Death of the Season
Mississippi saw its first seasonal pediatric death to influenza this week, ahead of what may hold to be a harsher flu season than 2020.
Best of Jackson 2022 Finalist Ballot Open through Christmas Eve
Yesterday, the Jackson Free Press finalized the results of the Best of Jackson 2022 nominations ballot.
High Court Won't Hear Mississippi Lawsuit Over Talcum Powder
The Supreme Court on Monday turned away a request by Johnson & Johnson to halt a Mississippi lawsuit over its talcum powder products.
Monday, December 13
Omicron Variant Shows Serious Decrease In Neutralizing Activity, Lab Studies Show
Laboratory studies of the omicron variant of COVID-19 from multiple sources reveal a dramatic decrease in neutralizing activity from prior infection with earlier variants and the available vaccines.
Repeat Street Countdown to Christmas, Possum Ridge at Two Museums and Hal and Mal's Christmas Party
Repeat Street is hosting a Countdown to Christmas event from Tuesday, Dec. 14, through Friday, Dec. 24, with different events and specials each day.
'A Way We Resist': Quilts Honor Victims of Racial Violence
A quilting project dedicated to memorializing lives lost to racial violence in the U.S. is open for public viewing on weekdays through Dec. 17 at Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center.
Analysis: Oversight Changes for Mississippi Judicial Races
Under change recently made by a majority of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the public could receive less information about findings of unethical behavior during judicial campaigns.
Friday, December 10
JSU Wins Tax Case Competition, USM Student Donation and MSU Speaking Center
A team of Jackson State University College of Business students recently joined eight other regional teams as winners of the Deloitte FanTAXtic Tax Case competition.
To few’s surprise, the University of Mississippi offense has been explosive and exciting in the 2021 season. The Rebels brought back quarterback Matt Corral and head coach Lane Kiffin.
Gov. Reeves: Mississippi Will Ban Most Abortions From Conception If Roe Falls
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves recently confirmed that the state will swiftly move to enact a law banning nearly all abortions starting from the moment of conception if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.
Initial Funding Approved for State Mental Health Monitor
A federal judge has approved funding for an independent monitor to collect and analyze data on how Mississippi's mental health system is working to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.
Thursday, December 9
Second Death-Row Inmate Requests Speedy Execution
Mississippi could execute its second inmate this year after a nine-year hiatus, if the Mississippi Supreme Court grants Blayde Nathataniel Grayson’s request for execution.
Galey’s Pictures Prompt ‘Adventures in the Imagination’ at The MAX
Even the standalone illustrations from Chuck Galey spark stories, igniting the imagination with a crackling warmth of character, narrative and action.
Frat Members Arrested for Cyberstalking in Hazing Case
Seven members of the recently suspended Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Mississippi have been arrested after they were accused of using social media to harass a former frat member who reported the organization for hazing.
Democrat from East Mississippi Takes Oath in State Senate
The Mississippi Senate is back up to its full membership of 52 people after Democratic Sen. Rod Hickman of Macon was sworn in Wednesday at the state Capitol.
Wednesday, December 8
Hope Credit Union CEO Bill Bynum Gets $250,000 Heinz Award for the Economy
The Heinz Family Foundation recognized Bill Bynum, chairman and CEO of Hope Credit Union, as one of seven beneficiaries in the 26th edition of the Heinz Awards on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Jackson State University Earns Reaffirmation of Its Accreditation from SACSCOC
Jackson State University announces the successful decennial review of its regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Overcoming Tragedy: Arletha Orr Hosts ‘Live’ Event for Grieving Parents and Spouses
Arletha Orr recognizes the uniqueness of her experience with grief, and she says that she is devoted to helping others push through their pain and sorrow so that they may experience life on the other side of loss.
Justice Dept. Still Probing Civil Rights Era Police Killings
The Justice Department’s decision to close its investigation of Emmett Till’s slaying all but ended the possibility of new charges in the teen’s death 66 years ago, yet agents are still probing as many as 20 other civil rights “cold cases,” including the police killings of 13 Black men in three Southern states decades ago.
Tuesday, December 7
MSDH Confirms State’s First Case of Omicron
Omicron, the latest variant of the COVID-19 virus, had already spread to at least 16 other states before the Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed yesterday that omicron has made its way to Mississippi.
As part of a dynamic team that brings a holistic approach to workforce development, Jackson resident Devin Winsett has served as a social worker with the Refill Jackson Initiative since June 2021.
Feds Close Emmett Till Investigation; No New Charges for 1954 Murder, Kidnapping
The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it is ending its investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.
Monday, December 6
Habitat ReStore, Homestead for the Holidays and Holiday Pop-up Shop
Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area recently announced the grand opening of its new Habitat ReStore on Tuesday, Jan. 11.
MSDH Encourages Older, Immunocompromised Mississippians To Get Boosted
Mississippi is seeing a small uptick in new hospitalizations of COVID-19, worrying the public-health officials at the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Analysis: Politicians Split on Questions of Bodily Autonomy
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and several other Mississippi politicians make clear that they don't think the government should mandate vaccination against COVID-19. They take a different stance on bodily autonomy when it comes to a woman or girl deciding whether to have an abortion.
Mississippi to Receive Nearly $75M in Infrastructure Funding
Mississippi will receive nearly $75 million in water infrastructure funding as part of the recent bipartisan infrastructure bill, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials announced this week.
Eyesore: Illegal Trash Dumps Cause Problems in Jackson
An illegal dump site is filling up with tires, exacerbating blight in Mississippi's capital city.
Friday, December 3
U.S. Supreme Court Weighs Mississippi’s Abortion Ban, Pink House Carries on in Interim
After hearing oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon cast preliminary votes that move the court closer in deciding the fate of Mississippi women’s reproductive rights.
OPINION: My COVID Experience; Sick and Scared Led to Renewed Motivation and Opportunity
COVID-19 drastically changed much of the day-to-day operations of society. The vast effects of this virus changed the way children are educated.
EPA Head: 'Journey to Justice' Tour 'Really Personal for Me'
EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited St. John and St. James parishes on a tour he called "Journey to Justice." The five-day trip from Mississippi to Texas in mid-November highlighted low-income, mostly minority communities adversely affected by decades of industrial pollution.
Thursday, December 2
Mississippi Abortion Activists Protest as Justices Weigh Ban
Supporters and opponents of abortion rights rallied, blared music and shouted taunts Wednesday during protests in Mississippi's capital as the state took center stage in a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court case that could end a nationwide right to abortion.
Scholarship Funds, Women's Business Center and Fanraiser Challenge at JSU
John Nau, president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., bestowed $1 million to Jackson State University to support STEM scholarships and to name the atrium in the JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology building after Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, a 1975 graduate of JSU.
U.S. Colored Troops in Natchez Now Acknowledged, May Soon Have Monument
History and Research Committee Chairwoman Deborah Fountain explained the history of the U.S. Colored Troops at a Nov. 10, 2021, town hall meeting for the U.S. Colored Troops Monument project in Natchez.
Wednesday, December 1
Marvin Hogan, Early Childhood Education Champion, Leaves Legacy of Systemic Progress
Marvin Hogan was instrumental in securing funding for Head Start centers like this one across the state.
Bicentenary: Community Foundation for Mississippi Donates $1 million to Planetarium
An exuberant round of applause greeted the announcement of $1 million towards the Russell C. Davis Planetarium on Monday, Nov. 29, at the City of Jackson Bicentenary celebration opening event held at Thalia Mara Hall.
Abortion Debate Epicenter: Mississippi Clinic Stays Open
As the U.S. Supreme Court hears a Mississippi case Wednesday that could topple abortion rights nationwide, the state’s only abortion clinic was busier than ever: Volunteers continued to escort patients into the bright pink building while protesters outside beseeched women not to end their pregnancies.
Dr. Phillip Burch
Alabama native Dr. Phillip Burch moved to Jackson and took on the position of chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Children’s of Mississippi hospital in October.