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    WAPT / 31.12.2017 08:00
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    This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

    Google News / 19.11.2017 09:41
  • Fake grenade prompts airport concourse evacuation Fake grenade prompts airport concourse evacuation

    A fake explosion caused a scare at Miami International Airport Saturday night, after an airport employee discovered an unattended bag in a concourse restroom.

    WAPT / 32 min. ago
  • LA Jackson MS Zone Forecast - Argus PressLA Jackson MS Zone Forecast - Argus Press

    LA Jackson MS Zone ForecastArgus PressCopyright 2017 AccuWeather. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.and more »

    Google News / 35 min. ago
  • Kingston Frazier's family concerned about lack of communication in murder case. - Mississippi News NowKingston Frazier's family concerned about lack of communication in murder case. - Mississippi News Now

    Kingston Frazier's family concerned about lack of communication in murder case.Mississippi News NowIn May, Frazier was asleep in the back of his mother's car when it was stolen from a grocery lot parking lot in Jackson. Byron McBride, DeAllen Washington and Dwan Wakefield were arrested and charged with capital murder. This week, Wakefield was ...

    Google News / 1 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Wake Up WeatherWake Up Weather

    16 WAPT meteorologist Nathan Scott has the forecast for Jackson and Central Mississippi.

    WAPT / 2 h. 12 min. ago
  • JSU knocks off SWAC division rival, Alcorn State 7-3 in season finaleJSU knocks off SWAC division rival, Alcorn State 7-3 in season finale

    Tony Hughes and company beat the SWAC eastern division champs for the first time in 3 years to close out the season.

    WAPT / 2 h. 19 min. ago
  • Man reunited with woman who helped get him on path to recovery Man reunited with woman who helped get him on path to recovery

    "I know I can make it this time. I got everybody's support, your support, Kaitlyn's support, I got all the people who donated, and I got my family back."

    WAPT / 2 h. 45 min. ago
  • Hundreds without power across the metroHundreds without power across the metro

    HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Entergy is reporting hundreds of outages across the metro after thunderstorms swept through central Mississippi Saturday afternoon. Entergy reports 1,230 customers in Hinds County are without power because of high winds and storms. This includes hundreds of people in Clinton and Byram. Entergy says they have crews working to restore power to these areas and power should be back on around midnight. Entergy also reports 563 people without power in Rankin County. We’re told power will be restored as soon as possible. Entergy also reports 596 people without power in Holmes County. We’re told power will be restored as soon as possible.

    WJTV / 2 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Ohio candidate O'Neill doesn't regret sexual conquest Facebook postOhio candidate O'Neill doesn't regret sexual conquest Facebook post

    O'Neill wrote another post Saturday afternoon that said he apologized if he offended anyone, "particularly the wonderful women in my life."

    WAPT / 3 h. 57 min. ago
  • JSU beats ASU at Soul BowlJSU beats ASU at Soul Bowl

    Big rivalry game throws out records, JSU celebrates win against Braves

    WAPT / 3 h. 58 min. ago
  • Insurer says it shouldn't have to pay for McComb building collapseInsurer says it shouldn't have to pay for McComb building collapse

    An insurer said it shouldn't have to pay for the collapse of a building in a southwest Mississippi city.

    WAPT / 4 h. 6 min. ago
  • Thousands are without power in the metro areaThousands are without power in the metro area

    Southern Pine Electric is reporting several power outages in our TV viewing area. 

    WLBT / 4 h. 7 min. ago
  • Top general says he'd push back against 'illegal' nuclear strike orderTop general says he'd push back against 'illegal' nuclear strike order

    "I provide advice to the President," John Hyten said. "He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.'

    WAPT / 5 h. 8 min. ago
  • Jackson State upsets Alcorn State 7-3 - Mississippi News NowJackson State upsets Alcorn State 7-3 - Mississippi News Now

    Jackson State upsets Alcorn State 7-3Mississippi News NowTerrell Kennedy's 69 yd touchdown and a masterful performance by the Jackson State defense secured the biggest win in the Tony Hughes regime. The Tigers knocked off SWAC East champion Alcorn State 7-3. JSU started the season 0-7 but responded with ...and more »

    Google News / 6 h. 46 min. ago
  • One dead, one injured in crash on Gibson Road in Warren CountyOne dead, one injured in crash on Gibson Road in Warren County

    Sheriff Martin Pace confirmed 37-year-old Reginald Lamont Flaggs was driving east on Gibson Road around 2:30 a.m., when he lost control of his 2012 Ford Fusion.

    WLBT / 9 h. 19 min. ago
  • Warren County officials investigating deadly crashWarren County officials investigating deadly crash

    WARREN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Warren County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating an early morning wreck that killed one person and sent another to the hospital. Sheriff Martin Pace says the wreck happened just before 2:30 AM Saturday on Gibson Road. Pace say 37-year-old Reginald Lamont Flaggs was traveling east on Gibson Road when he lost control of his 2012 Ford Fusion and overturned. Flaggs was ejected from his car. We’re told Flaggs was pronounced dead on scene. A woman passenger was transported to the hospital and later released. Sheriff Pace says neither were wearing seatbelts. The wreck is currently under investigation.

    WJTV / 9 h. 26 min. ago more
  • From Farm to Freezer: A look inside the MSU ice cream processing plantFrom Farm to Freezer: A look inside the MSU ice cream processing plant

    STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi State is known for many things. But did you know the university has its own ice cream? Lauren Fluker got a look inside the ice cream processing plant. From January to November, crews at the plant make eleven different ice cream flavors. The Mississippi State University Dairy Processing Plant Manager, Eric Goan, tells us they make 540 gallons of ice cream a day. He walked us through the plant and explained some of the ice cream making process, while keeping the university’s secrets. When asked about the cream-churning process, Goan replied: “That gives it that rich creaminess that we like in our premium ice cream here at Mississippi State” Once the ice cream leaves the plant, it goes to Mafes Store. “What makes our ice cream so special is that we make our ice cream right here on Mississippi State‘s campus,” said Mafe store manager Troy Weaver. “It goes with our tradition. We milk our own cows.” Weaver says their ice cream goes perfectly with football. “Pair it with football season and this is the second most visited place on campus,” Weaver said. The last day to buy the ice cream is on December 11.

    WJTV / 10 h. 48 min. ago more
  • JPD officer hit by truck near Veterans Memorial StadiumJPD officer hit by truck near Veterans Memorial Stadium

    This is a developing story. We will update this as more information becomes available. 

    WLBT / 11 h. 36 min. ago
  • Motorcycle officer injured after crash near Veterans Memorial StadiumMotorcycle officer injured after crash near Veterans Memorial Stadium

    JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Police confirm an officer was involved in a crash on Saturday around 12:45 p.m. The crash happened near West Street and Woodrow Wilson. We’re told the motorcycle officer got into an accident with a truck near Veterans Memorial Stadium. The officer was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to be treated. We’ve learned the officer has a broken leg. Police say he’s alert and responsive. We’re working with the Jackson Police Department to learn more about the investigation. JPD motor officer transported to UMMC via AMR with injuries following crash. He’s alert and responsive, broken leg and possible other injuries. Cause of accident is under investigation. pic.twitter.com/6rG07XxUCE — Jackson Police Dept. (@JacksonMSPolice) November 18, 2017

    WJTV / 11 h. 47 min. ago more
  • Insurer says it shouldn’t have to pay for building collapseInsurer says it shouldn’t have to pay for building collapse

    MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) – An insurer says it shouldn’t have to pay for the collapse of a building in a southwest Mississippi city. The Enterprise-Journal reports that Hudson Specialty Insurance has sued in federal court in Natchez to nullify its policy, saying the policy was voided after the building owner took money from a previous claim but didn’t complete needed repairs. The City of McComb sued earlier, seeking $370,000 spent on cleaning up debris after the building’s July 23 collapse. Both the city and Hudson say Terrance Alexander, who bought the building in 2014 and operated Jubilee Performing Arts Center there, had been warned that roof drains were clogged and the roof was about to fall in. Alexander, who denies those claims, transferred ownership to Talex LLC in 2016. That’s who Hudson was insuring.

    WJTV / 13 h. 1 min. ago more
  • AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

    NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the bawdy hard rock band AC/DC who helped create such head-banging anthems as “Highway to Hell,” ”Hells Bells” and “Back in Black,” has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death Saturday on their official Facebook page and website. A representative for the band confirmed that the posts were true. The posts did not say when or where Young died, but said the performer had been suffering from dementia. He was diagnosed in 2014. “It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. Malcolm had been suffering from Dementia for several years and passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside,” one of the posts read. The family put out a statement posted on the band’s website calling Young a “visionary who inspired many.” While Young’s younger brother, Angus, the group’s school-uniform-wearing lead guitarist, was the public face of the band, Malcolm Young was its key writer and leader, the member the rest of the band watched for onstage changes and cutoffs. AC/DC were remarkably consistent for over 40 years with its mix of driving hard rock, lusty lyrics and bluesy shuffles, selling over 200 million albums, surviving the loss of its first singer and creating one of the greatest rock records ever in “Back in Black,” the world’s second best-selling album behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2003. Greg Harris, the president & CEO, issued a statement Saturday that said, “We salute you, Malcom Young. Your blistering guitar shook generations and united us with sonic anthems that will ring forever.” Several musicians also paid their respects to Young on social media, writing about his influence and impact in music. “It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour,” Eddie Van Halen tweeted on Saturday. “He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.” “The driving engine of AC/DC has died. A tragic end for a sometimes unsung icon. One of the true greats. RIP,” Paul Stanley, of Kiss, wrote on Twitter Scott Ian, of Anthrax, posted a photo of his Malcolm Young tattoo and said “what he means to me is unquantifiable.” Mike Portnoy, co-founder of Dream Theater, called him “one of the great rhythm guitar players of all time.” The Glasgow-born Young brothers — who moved to Sydney, Australia, with their parents, sister and five older brothers in 1963 — formed the band in 1973. They were inspired to choose the high-energy name AC/DC from the back of a sewing machine owned by their sister, Margaret. Angus experimented with several different stage costumes at first — including a gorilla suit and a Zorro outfit — but the school uniform was a natural, since he was only 16 at the time. The Youngs went through several drummers and bass guitarists, finally settling on Phil Rudd on drums in 1974 and Englishman Cliff Williams on bass three years later. Their original singer was fired after a few months when they discovered Bon Scott, who was originally hired as the band’s driver. By 1980, the band was on a roll, known for its high energy performances and predictably hard-charging songs. Their album “Highway To Hell” was certified gold in America and made it into the top 25 Billboard album charts, and the single “Touch Too Much” became their first UK Top 30 hit. But on Feb. 18, 1980, everything changed — Scott died of asphyxiation after choking on his own vomit after an all-night drinking binge. The band decided to keep going and hired English vocalist Brian Johnson at the helm. The newly reconfigured group channeled their grief into songwriting and put out 1980’s “Back In Black,” with the songs “You Shook Me All Night Long,” ”Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” and “Hells Bells.” The cover of the album was black, in honor of Scott’s death. The band continued with a studio or live album every few years , blending their huge guitar riffs with rebellious and often sophomoric lyrics — song titles include “Big Balls,” ”Beating Around the Bush,” ”Let Me Put My Love Into You” and “Stiff Upper Lip.” AC/DC won only a single Grammy Award, for best hard rock performance in 2009 for “War Machine.” Rolling Stone said in 1980 that “the AC/DC sound is nothing more and nothing less than aggressively catchy song hooks brutalized by a revved-up boogie rhythm, Malcolm’s jackhammer riffing, Angus’ guitar histrionics and Johnson’s bloodcurdling bawl.” In the book “The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC” by Jesse Fink, Angus Young said the formula worked. “We’ve got the basic thing kids want,” he said. “They want to rock and that’s it. They want to be part of the band as a mass. When you hit a guitar chord, a lot of the kids in the audience are hitting it with you. They’re so much into the band they’re going through all the motions with you. If you can get the mass to react as a whole, then that’s the ideal thing. That’s what a lot of bands lack, and why the critics are wrong.” AC/DC’s infectious, driving sound stretched further than rock arenas. The song “Shoot to Thrill” was heard in the film “The Avengers,” ”Back in Black” made it into “The Muppets,” ”Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was played in “Bridesmaids” and their songs were included in the “Iron Man” franchise. On TV, the band’s music was heard in everything from “Top Gear,” the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot, “Glee,” ”CSI: Miami” and “The Voice.” Though the band championed good-natured hell-raising, it had to weather suggestions in the 1980s that they were a threat to the moral fabric of society. There were rumors the band’s name stood for Anti-Christ/Devil’s Children and many were shocked when it was learned that serial murderer and rapist Richard Ramirez identified himself as a fan and left an AC/DC baseball cap behind at a crime scene. In 2014, the band released “Rock or Bust,” the first AC/DC album without Malcolm Young. Even so, he is very present on the record since the 11 songs are credited to the Young brothers (Angus said he built the album from guitar hooks the two had accumulated over the years). Around the album’s release, Angus Young told The Associated Press that Malcolm was doing fine, but that he couldn’t perform anymore. “It was progressing further, but he knew he couldn’t do it,” Angus Young said of his older brother’s dementia. “He had continued as long as he could, still writing. But he said to me, ‘Keep it going.'” The fate of the band was also put into doubt by the retirement of Williams, legal trouble for Rudd and Johnson’s hearing loss, which forced him to leave. The band enlisted Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose to sing on tour in 2016.

    WJTV / 14 h. 45 min. ago more
  • Fight between a woman’s husband and ex-husband ends in a shootingFight between a woman’s husband and ex-husband ends in a shooting

    JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Police are investigating after a fight between two men ends in a shooting. We’re told it happened in the 2300 block of Timber Crossing just before 7:30 Saturday morning. According to authorities a 32-year-old man was shot in the abdomen by another 32-year-old man. One the men is the husband of the female resident and the other man is her ex-husband. Police say the fight happened while the ex-husband was trying to retrieve their child from the location. After the victim was shot he then drove away, and was later found by AMR and was taken to a hospital. His condition is unknown at this time. The investigation is on going.

    WJTV / 14 h. 48 min. ago more
  • 32-year-old man shot in the abdomen after fight with ex-wife's husband32-year-old man shot in the abdomen after fight with ex-wife's husband

    Jackson Police are investigating a shooting in south Jackson that occurred just before 7:30 a.m. 

    WLBT / 14 h. 51 min. ago
  • AC/DC co-founder, guitarist Malcolm Young dies - Mississippi News NowAC/DC co-founder, guitarist Malcolm Young dies - Mississippi News Now

    AC/DC co-founder, guitarist Malcolm Young diesMississippi News Now"Back in Black" is the second-best selling album of all time behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller." AC/DC's success continued through the 80s and 90s with a string of successful albums and tracks, including "For Those About to Rock We Salute You" and ...and more »

    Google News / 14 h. 55 min. ago more
  • UPDATE: JPD identifies man found shot to death near abandoned apartmentUPDATE: JPD identifies man found shot to death near abandoned apartment

    Anyone with information at this crime is asked to contact Police or call Crime Stoppers. 

    WLBT / 15 h. 56 min. ago
  • Navy grounds air crew that made vulgar drawing in skyNavy grounds air crew that made vulgar drawing in sky

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The air crew who used their U.S. Navy warplane to create a vulgar sky writing above the town of Okanogan, Washington, this week have been grounded, the U.S. Navy said Friday. An electronic warfare plane from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in western Washington state created sky writings in the shape of male genitals in the skies over the rural community on Thursday. Many residents spotted the contrails in the clear blue skies above the central Washington town of 2,500 people. Witnesses took photos and placed them on social media platforms, where they were widely viewed. “The actions of this aircrew are wholly unacceptable and antithetical to Navy core values” said a statement issued Friday by NAS Whidbey Island. “We have grounded the aircrew and are conducting a thorough investigation,” the statement said, “and we will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.” “The Navy apologizes for this irresponsible and immature act, and anyone who was offended by this unacceptable action,” the statement said. The aircraft involved was an E/A-18 Growler assigned to Whidbey Island, the Navy said. The carrier-based plane carries a two-person crew. The plane flew over the small town in a pattern “that left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground,” the Navy said. The names of the air crew were not released.

    WJTV / 16 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Jackson Police investigate 56th homicide of 2017Jackson Police investigate 56th homicide of 2017

    UPDATE 11/18/2017 12:05 p.m. : Jackson Police Department confirms the fatal shooting victim discovered this morning on Greenhill Place has been identified as 26-year-old, Demond C. Reed. Sergeant Roderick Holmes says there is still no suspect information at this time and the motive remains unknown. This investigation is ongoing. JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Police are investigating a deadly shooting. It happened in the 300 block of Greenhill Place near Medial Plaza. Around 1 a.m. Saturday morning, an officer saw a man lying on the ground during his patrol. The victim was near a parked vehicle at an abandoned apartment building. Sgt. Roderick Holmes with the Jackson Police Department says the man appeared to have been shot in the chest and neck. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are working to figure out how long the victim had been there. The man’s identity has not been released. Police tell us they have no suspect information or motive at this time. Anyone with information that could help police solve this crime should call JPD at 601.960.1234 or Crimestoppers at 601.355.TIPS. This is Jackson’s 56th homicide investigation of 2017.

    WJTV / 17 h. 8 min. ago more
  • JSU/Alcorn fans gear up for annual rivalry - Mississippi News NowJSU/Alcorn fans gear up for annual rivalry - Mississippi News Now

    JSU/Alcorn fans gear up for annual rivalryMississippi News NowThousands of fans will be in Jackson this weekend for the annual Jackson State/Alcorn State football game. The excitement is in the air as fans from both universities await the countdown to kick off at Veteran's Memorial Stadium. "Four-time eastern ...

    Google News / 22 h. 32 min. ago
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  • William Carey University Researchers Developing Medical Assistance DroneWilliam Carey University Researchers Developing Medical Assistance Drone

    HATTIESBURG, MS.– One of the biggest challenges medical first responders face in the aftermath of a natural disaster is getting to those in need of medical assistance and treating their injuries in a timely manner. When EF-4 Tornado ripped through the Hattiesburg area four years ago Dr. Italo Subbarao decided to re-examine medical response times in disaster situations. He is the lead researcher on the Healthcare Integrated Rescue Operations project…or HiRo. “We studied that tornado and we realized that folks really did an amazing job in responding, but we asked ourselves a question. Could we do better? Could we do more?” said Italo Subbarao, Senior Associate Dean of the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Could we use existing technologies at that time to be able to get to people’s homes when there were obstacles in the way?” The team created a system where the patient will call for assistance and a drone will then be dispatched to their location. It will then drop off the customized HiRo medical kit. Dr. Guy Paul Cooper is a resident physician at Merit Healthy Wesley Hospital and has been working with Dr. Subbarao on the project. Dr. Cooper says they designed the kit to be as versatile as possible. “I have a background as a paramedic, so we designed this kit around what an ambulance might typically have,” said Cooper. “[We asked ourselves,] “What can treat the most amount of people?”.” Patients will also have a pair of glasses that has a built in camera in the kit to show doctors what they are seeing. “We believe that this technology definitely has the potential to save lives,” said Dr. Subarrao. “We are hopeful and we are targeting our development so that we can be ready for this coming hurricane season.”

    WJTV / 1 d. 0 h. 7 min. ago more
  • Jackson Police talk about how they respond to missing persons casesJackson Police talk about how they respond to missing persons cases

    Jackson Police respond to dozens of missing person cases a year. it can be a scary and a difficult time when a loved is missing.

    WLBT / 1 d. 1 h. 57 min. ago
  • Protective Order didn’t stop violent Holmes County shootingProtective Order didn’t stop violent Holmes County shooting

      HOLMES CO, Miss. (WJTV) – A young Holmes County boy nearly lost his life after his mother’s ex-boyfriend shot into their home. We first told you about this story earlier this month, but tonight WJTV’s Margaret-Ann Carter is learning more about how Craig Thomas was able to get his hands on a gun, with a protective order filed against him. 9 year old Jared Taylor was shot 3 times when his mother’s ex boyfriend fired his newly purchased gun into their home in the middle of the night. Sheriff Willie March says the boy’s mom had a protective order against Thomas, but because of the way the law is laid out Thomas was legally able to purchase a gun. How much protection does a protective order really offer? For one holmes county family it didn’t offer much at all. Even though Thomas had a protective order filed against him by his ex girlfriend he was still legally able to purchase a gun, a weapon he used to shoot his ex’s 9 year old son. “I was just amazed when I called the attorney general’s office to find out that the person that sold this gun wouldn’t be able to pick up this order even though it was in the system they wouldn’t be able to pick it up,” Holmes county sheriff Willie March said. Even if a victim of domestic violence files a protective order against their abuser it doesn’t prevent them from purchasing a firearm in Mississippi, “If they haven’t had any conviction or anything there’s nothing that really can be done which is unfortunate therefore like I stated we have a long way to go in order to combat this issue,” Wendy Mahoney the executive director for MS Coalition Against Domestic Violence explained. Federal law only limits the purchase of firearms if the abuser is your spouse, former spouse, the parent of your child or someone who you’ve lived with. An ex girlfriend or ex boyfriend does not fall into that category. “Individuals who are in domestic violence situations you need some type of evidence and a paper trail protective orders are one of those mechanisms because it shows that I have tried to do something I am putting forth the effort to be safe,” Mahoney said. Mahoney believes this situation could have been prevented if Thomas’s name was on the national database when he went to buy that gun. Sheriff March says this is an issue that needs to be brought to the attention of state leaders, and he plans to do so. “Obviously domestic violence is all over we’re having this problem and if you’re going to make this law and put it there then it should have some teeth that you can’t buy these weapon to use it against someone you’re upset with,” March explained. Thomas is charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied dwelling. We’re told 9 year old Jared is recovering.  

    WJTV / 1 d. 2 h. 19 min. ago more
  • Jackson Prep makes Mississippi high school history with latest state championship - Jackson Clarion LedgerJackson Prep makes Mississippi high school history with latest state championship - Jackson Clarion Ledger

    Jackson Clarion LedgerJackson Prep makes Mississippi high school history with latest state championshipJackson Clarion LedgerCLINTON — Mississippi high school football history was made Friday night and Jackson Prep was behind it. “Six straight, baby!” There was no way to pinpoint exactly who was shouting it because it seemed to be coming from everyone's mouth at Robinson ...and more »

    Google News / 1 d. 2 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Downtown Hattiesburg sees increase in business developmentDowntown Hattiesburg sees increase in business development

    HATTIESBURG, Miss.(WHLT) – Businesses flocking to downtown Hattiesburg are bringing more jobs and diversity to the community. According to the Hattiesburg Area Developers Participation (ADP), downtown Hattiesburg is seeing an increase in traffic. Daniel Jayroe with ADP says, “We’re excited to see new businesses, whether restaurant, retail, professional services grow here. You can see how busy it is.” Bliss Bridal, a full-service bridal boutique, just opened its doors November 15. Employee, Makenzie Crampton, says the owner of the shop has close connections to Hattiesburg, and wanted to come back to serve the people in Hattiesburg. She said, “We wanted to be part of the growth in the community. We want to offer something that nobody else has, and we want to make those friendships and lasting relationships with people in the area.” Hattiesburg native and Jazmo’s owner, Trey Sullivan, says he moved his business to the heart of downtown because of the culture. He says the recent boom in business has helped his business as well as others in the area. “I feel a more thriving unique culture, and its prominent downtown. So its good to be in a space where I know that Hattiesburg is going to make a major move,” Trey said. Andrea Saffle, Executive Director for Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association, says more businesses have started to fill vacant buildings and bring more options to the community. She said, “The businesses that have opened here in the last year and a half are really getting that sense of feeling that people are behind them and supporting them and really want them to all do well.” Along with growing businesses, ADP says the Greater Hattiesburg area is number one in the state for the 2.7 percent job growth this year.

    WJTV / 1 d. 3 h. 51 min. ago more
  • Mississippi couple needs votes in adoption contestMississippi couple needs votes in adoption contest

    MEADVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – A Mississippi couple wants to change the world one adoption at a time, and they need help doing it. All it takes is one vote a day. Before Matthew and Virginia Alexander ever met in 2013, both of them knew they wanted to adopt children. Now they’re almost one year into marriage, and the only Mississippi finalists in a nationwide contest to have the nearly $40,000 adoption process paid for. The contest is through a fundraising ministry called Fund The Nations. And the couple with the most votes win. There are ten couples in the final round, and the Alexanders say they are now in second place. The Meadville couple plans to adopt a child from Bulgaria. “So right now we have two clocks hanging on the wall in our home. One is set to our time, and one is set to Bulgaria time,” Matthew said. “You feel like you can’t make a difference when you look at the huge number of orphans in the State of Mississippi and world-wide. But for those who are called to adopt, that’s one ways that we feel like we can make a difference. But also for those voting, this is a way that they can get involved too.” The Alexanders aren’t stopping with one adoption. They plan to adopt domestically and have their own children as well. If you want to support the Alexanders, click here to see their full submission video and vote. Tuesday is the last day to vote.

    WJTV / 1 d. 4 h. 2 min. ago more
  • Rep. Joel Bomgar does analysis of CDC opioid dataRep. Joel Bomgar does analysis of CDC opioid data

    A state lawmaker is examining CDC data and trying to figure out why the overdose deaths are increasing. Representative Joel Bomgar says a lot of what's being done to get a handle on the opioid crisis is only making it worse.

    WLBT / 1 d. 5 h. 47 min. ago
  • 3 on the Road: Dunns Falls3 on the Road: Dunns Falls

    The waterfall at Dunn’s Falls near Meridian is not a natural fall. It was created before the Civil War by John Dunn from a nearby creek to form a pond at the top of the bluff to supply the water needed to turn the wheel and power his mill.

    WLBT / 1 d. 6 h. 37 min. ago
  • Group donates $1 million to Mississippi hospital expansionGroup donates $1 million to Mississippi hospital expansion

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A charitable group has promised a $1 million donation to expand Mississippi’s only children’s hospital. The Junior League of Jackson announced the pledge Friday to benefit the work on the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and associated facilities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Medical center officials say they now have $60 million pledged toward a $100 million private fundraising goal. Construction could start in the next few months on a $180 million project that would more than double the hospital’s available space. The new tower would include private neonatal intensive care rooms, a pediatric intensive care unit, operating rooms and imaging devices designed especially for children. Trustees approved plans Thursday for the medical center to borrow $90 million and progress with construction plans. (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    WJTV / 1 d. 7 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Two vehicle accident on Highway 18 at Springridge RoadTwo vehicle accident on Highway 18 at Springridge Road

    Injuries have been reported in a two-car accident on Highway 18 and Springridge Road. 

    WLBT / 1 d. 7 h. 19 min. ago
  • Newspaper headline offensive to ChoctawsNewspaper headline offensive to Choctaws

    Choctaw members are upset and disappointed after they were referred to as "Chocs" in the Carthaginian newspaper this week. The Native Americans say it's a racist and derogatory term, and they take offense to it. 

    WLBT / 1 d. 7 h. 23 min. ago
  • Jackson police looking for missing man - Mississippi News NowJackson police looking for missing man - Mississippi News Now

    Jackson police looking for missing manMississippi News NowOdems was last seen leaving his home on November 9th driving a silver Volkswagen Beetle, wearing a white dress shirt, dark pants and shoes and a dress hat. Odems does suffer from a mental illness and has gone missing before in the past. If you have any ...and more »

    Google News / 1 d. 8 h. 5 min. ago
  • Zoo BluesZoo Blues

    Attendance, money woes plague future of Jackson Zoo Recently, the Jackson Zoological Park announced the unexpected death of Casper the giraffe. Prior to the death, zoo keepers reported that the 14-year-old reticulated giraffe was not feeling well. Casper’s death could be seen as an allegory for the zoo itself, which in recent years also has suffered from declining health. Attendance and revenues have steadily dropped, while at the same time, deferred maintenance has built up. Further, because of a lack of revenue, park leaders made the decision to resign from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2016, giving up accreditation with the national program. When asked where she sees the zoo in five to 10 years, Executive Director Beth Poff wasn’t thinking that far ahead. “I’m more concerned about the zoo in the next two years,” she said. “Something’s going to have to happen. Maybe there’s a better location in the Jackson area where the zoo could start anew and survive.” Since 2007, attendance at the West Capitol Street attraction has dropped by nearly half, with just 100,100 people walking through the park’s gates in fiscal year 2017. Compared, the park drew 106,000 people in 2016. In 2010, the zoo drew 150,000, and in 2007, it attracted 180,000, Poff said. “We had dinosaurs this year. It was a great exhibit, but it didn’t do a thing for attendance. If anything, June of 2017 was worse than June 2016,” she said. “That was a big disappointment.” “We really felt there would be a big spike. In 2003, the last time we had dinosaurs, we had close to 180,000 people. Zoo attendance hasn’t been over 200,000 going as far back as 2000.”   Fewer visitors translates into less revenue for the cash-strapped park, which has also seen a decline in funding from the city, as well as a drop in giving from donors. Zoo operating expenses have been cut to bare bones. Today, the park has 33 full-time employees, down from 37 in 2016. Additionally, six open positions have been frozen. Poff estimates there is more than a million dollars in deferred maintenance. At least $20,000 is needed to repair the filtration system on the beaver exhibit. Another $5,000 to $8,000 is needed to repair the otter exhibit, which is leaking, Poff said. “We’ve had to put that on hold for now. The little bit of funding we do have, we’re addressing (other leaks), like the chimp moat.” A large moat surrounds the chimpanzee exhibit. Because chimpanzees don’t swim, the moat prevents the animals from leaving the exhibit. The moat also means that wires, bars and other physical blockage doesn’t have to be added, which would obstruct visitors’ view of the exhibit, Poff said.  “It’s very important to keep water in the moat,” she said. “It sounds kind of silly, but chimps hate water. They don’t swim, they sink like a rock.” Other projects that are moving forward include demolish the barn at the contact zoo. “(We’re) still fighting the good fight,” Poff said. The Jackson Zoo is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. It is funded through city allocations, contributions from donors, ticket and gift shop sales, as well as zoo memberships. Major fund-raisers include Zoo Brew, an annual party that generates about $40,000 in revenue, and Zoo Party, another event that generates about $50,000 annually, she said. The zoo’s budget for fiscal year 2018 is $2.3 million, down from $2.4 million last year, but up from $2.1 million in 2016.  “The zoo lost AZA accreditation, and we got it back, and lost it again,” Poff said. “We withdrew from AZA because we knew we wouldn’t be able to keep it. AZA looks at financial stability.” Part of the problem is changing allocations from the city. The zoo lost AZA accreditation in 2013, but regained it after city allocations increased. “We got it up to $1.2 million, then it was cut to $1 million, then $880,000,” she said. “Under Mayor (Chokwe Antar) Lumumba’s first year, we got it up to $980,000. Our request was for $1.5 million to work on deferred maintenance.” Jackson could not give more, and raised property taxes by two mills to help offset revenue shortfalls. The zoo is governed by the Jackson Zoological Society Board of Directors. The board includes 16 people, seven of whom are appointed by the city.   While allocations from Jackson have steadily dropped, major donors are also giving less. “(Donors interviewed) do not have confidence in the future of the zoo and need to see that the zoo’s financial position is viable and sustainable,” according to a 2016 report from an independent consultant. Poff would not release the study to protect the names of those interviewed by the firm, but did provide a copy of the executive summary. Interviewees were primarily concerned about the zoo’s location and its lack support from city government. The zoo is located at 2918 W. Capitol St. Traveling from the I-220, visitors going to the zoo drive past about a dozen abandoned, dilapidated homes and overgrown lots. In 2013, the zoo put together a “blue ribbon” committee to explore moving the park to a new location. However, at the time, zoo officials made a commitment to stay in the neighborhood. Zoo leaders are again looking into whether the zoo should be relocated. At the time, the city made a commitment to end blight in the area. Questions spring up not only about the neighborhood, but about the age of the zoo itself. The park leases 110 acres from the city, of which approximately 54 are developed, according to the zoo’s Web site. The zoo has approximately 200 species, but has lost major attractions in recent years. In 2010, the zoo announced plans to move its elephants to the Nashville Zoo. The animals were one of the park’s most popular attractions, but the zoo would have had to spend an estimated $10 million to build a creature habitat to maintain accreditation, Poff said. This year, the zoo three orangutans were also relocated. “After (she) had her baby, there was not enough space. After talking with the orangutan (species survival program), we decided to spend the male to (a place) where there are more females, and the female to a place with a bigger area,” she said. “It was our decision as a staff, and better for the orangutans.” In August, the zoo announced that its white rhinoceros, Robbie, had passed away at 43. And last week, Emerson, the zoo’s 10-year-old Sumatran tiger on loan to the Atlanta Zoo, died.   The zoo opened in 1919 and moved to its Livingston Park site in 1921. It was operated by the city until 1986, when the Jackson Zoological Society was formed, according to the Web site. Jim Wilkirson, a former president of the Friends of the Jackson Zoo, a former nonprofit that merged with other zoo support groups to become part of the zoological society, said zoo leaders have discussed relocating the park for years. “Any time you have structures that are that old and almost original to the zoo, at what point do you rehab, renovate and continue as opposed to building a new zoo,” he said. The first in a series.        

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 6 min. ago more
  • Bid awarded for Lake Harbour RehabilitationBid awarded for Lake Harbour Rehabilitation

    The Lake Harbour Drive rehabilitation project has been awarded to Dickerson and Bowen Inc. Ridgeland officials recently awarded the project to the lowest bidder, who came in approximately $200,000 under the city’s estimated cost for the project. “They came in under what we’d projected the budget to be by a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “It’s one of the few times a project has come in under our estimate,” Public Works Director Mike McCollum said. However, work on the project may not begin until the new year. “We suspect that with being this close to Thanksgiving and Christmas, there likely won’t be a lot of work done during the holidays,” McGee said. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) must also concur with the city’s bid award for the project. “It takes time to get that, so work probably won’t start until January, but we’ll see,” McGee said. The project includes a mill, overlay, restripe, and upgrade of four traffic signals on Spillway Road from Breaker’s Lane to Northpark Drive. “It’s (a little more than) a mile of four lanes with a center turn lane,” McCollum said.  “The road’s got heaves and stuff. We’re going to do some leveling. All the striping had actually worn off, and we did some restriping a year ago so people could see it. We’ve also got claims of potholes out there.” That portion of Lake Harbour Drive has failures that the public works department will fix with this project, according to McCollum. The project is a two-part task, the other half of which is being completed by the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD). Work includes rebuilding and resurfacing the portion of the Spillway over the dam and digging out and refilling soft spots. Now that the design phase is complete for that half of the project, construction should begin sometime this year. “We have to bid out the project, then get in line with the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO),” said John Sigman, PRVWSD general manager. “We hope to begin construction this year.” Construction should take between six to eight weeks and will probably cause traffic delays. “It’s going to be quick, but we have to do it under traffic, so some delays will be experienced,” Sigman said. “It’s more than just an overlay. We’re going to dig out soft spots, that sort of thing.” “There’s a little gap where projects won’t meet up, but the road in that area is not in bad of shape. Hopefully it won’t be that noticeable… This will complete Lake Harbour,” McCollum said. “We’ll have a real nice stretch of road from the Reservoir to Highland Colony when it’s all said and done.” (McCollum is referring to the Lake Harbour Drive extension from U.S. Highway 51 to Highland Colony. The project should be done within the next two years.)     Front Page SlideshowNewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 9 min. ago more
  • KNEEL-IN MOVEMENTKNEEL-IN MOVEMENT

    PROGRAMS SCHEDULED TO COMMEMORATE INTEGRATION OF JACKSON CHURCHES A week before the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opens, local religious, educational and civic leaders will commemorate another milestone in the struggle for civil rights in Mississippi - the Kneel-In Movement. Programs are slated from December 2 to December 4 to commemorate and discuss the kneel-in movement, an effort to integrate Jackson churches in the 1960s. The programs are the result of months of planning that stemmed from discussions at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral. The downtown congregation was the first protestant church to open its doors to the kneelers, a group that included black students from Tougaloo College as well as in-state and out-of-state activists. Ellen Bourdeaux and Henderson Hall co-chaired the event, as part of the Jackson Interfaith Civil Rights Committee. For the two, helping organize the events has had a personal meaning. Bourdeaux’s father, Tom Bourdeaux, was an attorney in Meridian who worked behind the scenes to support the Civil Rights movement. Her mother served on the federal grand jury that indicted the klansmen who killed James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three civil rights workers in Neshoba County. “The klan targeted my family. There were some nights we couldn’t go home because police were staked out in our driveway,” she said. “They heard a cross was supposed to be burned in our yard.” Hall, a high schooler at the time, remembers when kneelers visited his church at the time, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. “One of the most vivid memories I have … (was) seeing the delegation of black students coming to the front of the church and a sign going out declining to admit them. “It’s one of the reasons I was so interested in participating in this effort,” he said. He said St. Andrew’s decision to desegregate is something parishioners should be proud of. “St. Andrew’s had, at the time, the senior warden, the late Sherwood Wise, who was a splendid attorney and partner of my law firm. When the group of visitors came to the front door, one of the ushers asked him what they should do, and he said, ‘admit them.’ It’s a part of history and something we’re very proud of.” Other groups involved in the effort include Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, All Saints Episcopal Church, Fondren Presbyterian Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and Tougaloo College. The program is being funded, in part, by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. Other resources and in-kind services have been provided by other groups, Bourdeaux said. Programs start on December 2, with a panel discussion on the history of the movement, at Tougaloo College’s Woodworth Chapel. Panelists will include civil rights veteran Rims Barber and Kneel-In participants Camille McKey and Ida Hannah Sanders, Kneel-In leader Rev. Ed King and Joe Reiff, author of Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society. The program will be moderated by Carter Dalton Lyon, author of Sanctuaries of Segregation: The Story of the Jackson Church Visit Campaign. McKey, who was a sociology major at Tougaloo during the Civil Rights Movement, was one of a handful of students who were at St. Andrew’s when the church opened its doors. “Rev. King said we should be working through the churches because it was (not Christian) to discriminate,” she said. She was surprised when St. Andrew’s allowed the Kneelers to enter because previous visits to other churches had been unsuccessful. She believes the Kneelers’ efforts have made a difference. “As an Episcopalian, I can go to an Episcopal church and know I’m not going to be ostracized,” she said. Programs will also be held at 2 p.m., on Sunday, December 3 at the Old Capitol Museum and at noon, on Monday, December 4 at the Smith Robertson Museum. That event will be followed by a 6 p.m. ecumenical service at Galloway United Methodist Church.   In a separate but related event, on Thursday, November 30, the Beth Israel Congregation and the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP will present “Civil Rights and Jews: Continuing the Special Relationship.” That event will be at 7 p.m., at Temple Beth Israel. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bourdeaux at ellenbourdeaux@gmail.com or Hall at hsh@wisecarter.com.  The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Mississippi History Museum are expected to open on December 9, to coincide with the state’s bicentennial.   Front Page SlideshowNewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 11 min. ago more
  • Developer pulls rezoning  appeal for StorageMax  on Highland ColonyDeveloper pulls rezoning appeal for StorageMax on Highland Colony

    Buster Bailey of H.C. Bailey Companies has pulled the Highland Colony Parkway StorageMax appeal for the Ridgeland board of aldermen’s approval. “There was a public hearing before the zoning board (a couple of months ago). The board did not recommend approval,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “The developer pulled the item.” Bailey presented the plans in September during a regular p-and-z meeting. The Ridgeland planning and zoning board voted against the rezoning of the site from C-2 to C-3 for a storage unit. The planning and zoning board’s vote is not final and is viewed simply as a recommendation to the board of aldermen. Last month, the developer appealed and a public hearing for the StorageMax was set for November 7, when residents would have had a chance to voice opinions about the new facility. “One vote was for (the rezoning) and five were against,” planning and zoning chairman Bernie Giessner said. “Based on the discussion, there were a few issues…”  For rezoing to be justified, there must be a problem with current zoning and there must be a fundamental change in the neighborhood present. The construction of Costco (zoned C-2A) and the Lake Harbour Drive extension were both cited as examples of a changing neighborhood. “(Costco) can’t be used as an example of a changing characteristic of a neighborhood because it’s not complete. The other reason for changing characteristics was the flyover — that’s been proposed for years and it’s not complete. It cannot be used.” The only valid need for a StorageMax in the neighborhood that Bailey expressed during the presentation was a need for climate-controlled storage, according to Giessner. “They need to show a need for a C-3 zoning. If there was anything available that would (show a need) for an indoor climate-controlled facility to be built in the area, that would constitute a rezoning.” Giessner said that to his knowledge, Bailey did not investigate other possible sites for the storage facility. “In the opinion of most of the members of the planning and zoning board, Bailey did not properly show a change in characteristics of the neighborhood because the examples are not complete.”         Front Page SlideshowNewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 14 min. ago more
  • City addressing Meadow Hill sewer issueCity addressing Meadow Hill sewer issue

    Relief could soon be coming to residents impacted by a recent sewer main break on Meadow Hill Drive. Jackson has wrapped up work on two infrastructure repair projects and has turned its attention to the Meadow Hill project. Last week, the city was still determining what repairs were needed for the site, and whether a sewer pump could be installed to keep wastewater from flowing into a nearby creek. The break occurred on the street near a tributary to Eubanks Creek, Engineering Manager Charles Williams said. The city declared a state of emergency, so it can bring on a contractor through a truncated bidding process. “We can’t have sewage running into the ditch,” he said. “(It’s a) violation of the Clean Water Act.” The break likely occurred because of the line’s advanced age. Williams said the line is more than 40 years old and was likely installed when the subdivision was built. The break has affected residents in the neighborhood north of Woodland Hills, including those living on Crane Boulevard. Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote asked Williams for an update on the break at last week’s council meeting. “I’ve had a number of constituents who are concerned about this, because it affects Ward Seven as well,” Foote said. Engineering Manager Charles Williams said crews had been working on the problem for several days. “We have declared an emergency to receive competitive quotes, hopefully to get that system repaired,” he said. Williams said it was unclear how long repairs would take, and said it would depend on the scope of the project. “Depending on (the) location of where that break is … there’s a possibility we can line that pipe instead of doing joint repair, which would lessen the impact,” he said. “If not, it could take a little bit longer. “If it does take longer, (we have to decide) where we can put a pump to get the raw sewage out of the ditch, which right now is a violation of the Clean Water Act.” The city can face significant fines for violating the act, and is currently under a sewer consent decree for a number of federal water quality violations. Under that decree, the city has to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to bring its sewer system into compliance with federal law.   The break is located next to a tributary of Eubanks Creek, Williams said. It was not known when a contractor would be brought on. Under a state of emergency, the city can bring on a contractor without going through the traditional bidding process. Normally, the city must advertise for bids for 30 days before opening them. Under states of emergency, the city can bypass traditional advertising, and bring on a contractor after obtaining competitive bids from two firms. The council approves paying the contractor after the work is completed and signed off on by Public Works. The council recently paid three firms that were brought on for emergency projects. In April, the city declared states of emergencies to bring on contractors to repair a burst sewer main on Woodland Circle and a collapsed drainage culvert on Dogwood Hill Drive. The sewer main and culvert were damaged by heavy storms on April 2, according to city documents. Both projects were completed in late October, and recommendations for paying the firms was taken to the council. Southern Consultants was brought on for $37,500 to draw up plans to repair the Woodland Circle main, and Utility Constructors was hired for $290,500 to make the repairs. The project was completed in October. Four Seasons Enterprises was hired for $26,960 the Dogwood Hill Drive work.   Front Page SlideshowNewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Milne on new role at Jackson AcademyMilne on new role at Jackson Academy

    Jack Milne is currently the vice president and dean of school at Jackson Academy. On January 1, he will become JA’s new head of school. Before becoming vice president and dean of school at JA this past June, Milne served for 17 years at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, where he was a teacher, middle school head and associate head. Milne has a bachelor’s in history from Vanderbilt University and a juris doctor from the University of Florida College of Law. Sun Staff Writer Megan Phillips spoke with Milne about what drew him to Jackson Academy and his goals once he takes over as head of school.   What originally brought you to Jackson Academy? “Well, I was contacted a little over a year ago by one of the firms that was advising JA on their search to replace Pat Taylor, whose title then was headmaster. Now, it’s the same job description, but the job (title) is vice president and dean of school. (The firm) told me about the search and (asked), ‘Would I consider moving to Jackson, Ms?’ He said, ‘There’s a school there. It’s a healthy school. The headmaster’s retiring. They’re looking for someone who has good experience and comes from a school like (Bolles), who… really would view this as the capstone of their career…’ ”   When and how was it decided that you would become head of school come this January? “I started here first of June and after I had been here about six weeks, (Kling) sat me down and said, ‘Jack I’ve got some news to tell you. I’ve been asked and accepted a position at the Gulliver Schools in Coral Gables (Fla.), and… if the board approves it, I’ll be going there effective the first of January.’ So, then I had subsequent meetings with the board, and then they offered me that position to succeed (Kling) as head of school, effective January the first… It had fairly extensive interviews, every bit as much as the initial interviews… It was well into August when that process took place… We met at length on successive nights, so it was a very thorough (process) — as it should have been… ”   How’s the transition process from vice president and dean of school to head of school going? “It’s been wonderful, and I’ve been very fortunate… It’s an unusual situation that I would already be in place, and that (Kling) remains in place for a good length of time. So, we’ve got the benefit of these months working together… knowing that he’s going to be leaving in December and that I will be taking over. I have that benefit of his experience from 17 years here and his guidance… It’s the best of both worlds to assume that role but have that gift of time leading up to it.”   Who will be taking your place when you become head of school? “It will be set up a little differently. There will no longer be a president. Kling’s title now is president and head of school. My title is vice president and dean of school, formerly headmaster. There was some confusion there, which is correct. So, my title will be head of school, but it will be the same job description as current president and head of school. There will not be a headmaster. There will not be a vice president, dean of school. We may set it up in the model I’m more familiar with, which I think is the more traditional model, where you have the head of school, then you have associate heads… I may retain many of the duties I’m carrying on now, because of my years in teaching, with curriculum and the day-to-day running of the school…”   What position did you hold before you became vice president and dean of school here at JA? “I was at a school called the Bolles School (in Jacksonville, Fla.). It’s a prominent school in Florida. It’s day and boarding. Highly regarded academically and athletically. It’s a little larger than JA, but of comparable size. JA’s about 1,200; Bolles is about 1,700. Multi-campuses. So, I was there for 17 years.”   What was your role at Bolles? “I had a number of roles. I started as a teacher… After teaching for four years, the new president, who had come in after my first year, asked me to become the associate head of school of student life, which meant I basically oversaw all aspects of the middle and upper school, except academics. We had an academic dean do that. I oversaw athletics, discipline, students, dorms, counseling, and I continued to teach. I was also, when the long-time head of the middle school retired, I offered myself for that… It was a separate campus, so I could have a (certain) level of autonomy. I could make it my own and get the experience of really running a campus… That’s where I was when I got the call to come visit here.”   What drew you to JA? “The mission of the school — ‘Helping create lives with purpose and significance’ — that was a big draw for me to come here, and a big reason that I wanted to be a part of what the school’s doing and what I see it doing to help develop lives… “I knew they had chapel, and I knew the kids were involved in chapel, and I knew we had a chaplain, and that we have Biblical study courses. But, when I see a chapel that’s entirely student-run and their comfort level in their confession of faith, that was something that was very moving to me and affirmed the decision. I think, for the first time, I truly understood the meaning of being led somewhere, being called to do something…”   Do you have any general goals for JA when you become head of school? “My broad goal is to continue the search for not just academic excellence but character development. That’s my primary driving force being in education, is character development. Surveys have shown that in the past 10 or 20 years, that has become one of the most important reasons parents make the sacrifices to send their children to independent schools. It’s the advantage we have in working on character development. I’m working now… on the creation and implementation of a very meaningful honor system. To me, that is a vital statement that a school says about itself. The value it places on integrity, respect.  I’ve been very pleased with the enthusiasm the students have shown… The honor council, as we foresee it, will be student-run. That has been very gratifying and energizing to see the response, among faculty, trustees and the students…”   Is there any specific directions you’d like to lead the school? “Increased experiential programs, leadership programs, athletic opportunities, expanding the arts and continuing to reinforce that. We’re looking at creative ways to perhaps change the daily schedule of classes… Project-based learning, working together with peers on projects rather than the traditional assessments… I’m very proud of what this school does with students with learning differences. The job we do in that I want to see supported and improved to the extent we’re able to do that. That’s one of the things I’m proudest of…”   Do you see any areas that can be improved at Jackson Academy? “I’m never satisfied with any place that we are. We do some things very well. I think we do some things better than anyone. But everything we do we can do better, personally and collectively… People have asked me, ‘Was there anything that was a disappointment?’ And the answer to that is no. The surprises have all been very pleasant surprises… To continue the things that I know that we do right, but never to be satisfied. That’s something even the top reputed independent schools in the country are facing — you can never rely on what’s brought you success in the past…”   What are some ways JA has recently increased their academic program? “The STEM lab, the makers spaces that were put in even in preschool, the Apple distinguished school recognition we get. Every student here is issued an Apple laptop computer and taught the effective and responsible use of it. That is fully implemented… The work we’re going to be doing looking at scheduling… The learning commons upstairs. That was a big commitment of converting the traditional library into a space that is conducive to learning with small study rooms, an area where students can gather together to socialize and study together, the space where teachers can have small group meetings and work on projects… Those are just some examples.”   Are there more academic plans and improvements coming soon besides scheduling changes? “I think the continued use of technology is an appropriate tool. Looking at what courses are offered and what new courses (will be offered). We’re starting leadership courses, ethics courses that I’ve been asked to be a visiting lecturer in, which I’m excited about… As I learn more about the school and learn more where the academic opportunities are for enhanced offerings in elective courses, advanced placement courses, those are the kind of things that are exciting and that are always at the forefront with all the leaders and department heads…”   What about new programs or improvements athletically? “Prior to my coming, the weight room was expanded and is a wonderful showcasing opportunity for athletic training in all sports. Raider Park, which is detached from the campus by about 100 yards, that’s where the baseball field is, which has had a new outfield put in recently. The tennis facility is new. The girls’ softball field is there, a practice field and track is there. So, that’s a great facility, which is continuing to be improved upon. “One of the things we would like to have is a facility where all the sports can get together. That’s an opportunity we will have in the future. Probably in the near future, we have a synthetic grass (football) field that has pretty much run its useful life. We’ll be replacing that to make sure we maintain the quality and safety of the field… Little things, but expensive things… We are always looking for ways (to improve).”   Front Page SlideshowNewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 17 min. ago more
  • Colony Park work under wayColony Park work under way

    Colony Park Boulevard is now underway, but the project will take another 18 months before it is complete. Ridgeland city officials have been working with AT&T to relocate utilities in preparation for the project. Recently, the city approved AT&T to move another line. “We discovered that they had not told us about a line that has got to be moved for construction of Colony Park Boulevard,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “They will move it and bill us for it. It will be less than $1,000.” The city’s responsibilities for the project include relocating utilities and acquiring rights of way. Now, the city has turned the project over to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), who has bid the project out to Utah Construction. “They’re clearing and grubbing right now,” Public Works Director Mike McCollum said he’s observed. “They will start construction when they get through that. They’re just clearing the roadway now and cutting to get the road down to the grade (required).” Clearing and grubbing includes removing trees, stumps, roots and other matter resting on or protruding through the surface of the original ground where construction will take place. McCollum said relocating utilities and acquiring rights of way took the city two years to complete. “Right after we completed it, MDOT came in pretty (quickly) and got it awarded.”   THE ENTIRETY of the project’s construction has an estimated cost of $26 million, according to Chris Bryson, city engineer. Once construction is complete, Colony Park Boulevard will stretch for approximately two miles from Highland Colony to U.S. Highway 51. A sidewalk and multi-use trail will also run along Colony Park Boulevard. So far, a section of Colony Park Boulevard and the sidewalk has been built from the Township to Sunnybrook Road because of the MDOT split-diamond interchange project at I-55. The section from Sunnybrook to Highway 51 is the section that will be completed with the $26 million. Bryson said, “The sidewalk and connector trails along Colony Park Boulevard will connect the Ridgeland High School entrance.” Once the whole project is complete, there will be a five-foot-wide sidewalk along the north side of the road and a 12-foot-wide multi-use trail along the south side of the road. NewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 20 min. ago more
  • R’land officials approve two hotel site plansR’land officials approve two hotel site plans

    Two more hotels are coming to Ridgeland, and city officials say there’s still room to add more. During a recent board of aldermen meeting, the mayor and aldermen approved the site plan and architectural review for a Holiday Inn Express and Tru by Hilton. The approval comes days after the city’s moratorium on hotels expired. The moratorium originally began April 4 of this year and was set to extend 180 days. However, the moratorium was extended another 30 days in October, ending the ban on hotels and hotel construction on October 31. The moratorium specifically excluded hotels that might be built in any overlay district, including Jackson Street and the Township, where Township developer Clint Herring will bring two new hotels in 2019.  “The moratorium was put in place to just review our current zoning classification,” Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard previously told the Sun. “We’ll possibly implement a separate hotel class. Included in the hotel classification, we would address the different hotel qualities.” During the moratorium, the city conducted a study with a combination of in-house and outside people to assess the industry and formulate a zoning class. Young Strategies completed the study, which can be found at www.northsidesun.com. “The study is to help us better understand the hospitality industry in general so we can make a better decision on the zoning classification, if we were to put that in place.” “The board wanted to be sure. We’re getting a lot of requests for hotels,” Mayor Gene McGee said in April. “We want to use it in the best interest (of the city). We just want to look at that very carefully.” The moratorium was extended in October when the board tabled the site plan and architectural review for three hotels  — Tru by Hilton, Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express — until the first meeting in November. When the item came before the board again during the November 7 board meeting, developers Chico Patel and Todd Reeves had already decided to not move forward with the Holiday Inn, but they will still move forward with the Tru by Hilton and Holiday Inn Express hotels.     Once completed, the two new hotels will be located off I-55 north Frontage Road, south of the Holmes Community College gym, McGee said.   The completed study analyzed percentage of room rentals in the city and if there is still room to build more hotels. The study is financed by the Ridgeland Tourism Commission, according to Heard, and studies the hotel and hospitality industry. “In general, the hotel industry regulates itself,” Ridgeland Community Development Director Alan Hart said. “What we learned (from the study) was essentially, whenever you have occupancy as high as what’s being experienced in Ridgeland, hotels have a tendency to build more. If those numbers are below a certain occupancy standard, hotels don’t want to build. It’s very simple.” Following the approval of the Tru by Hilton and Holiday Inn Express hotels last week as well as the Township hotels, Hart said he doesn’t expect any more hotel applications anytime soon. “The quantity of hotels is not the driving force behind what’s good and what’s bad (in a city),” he said. “It’s more along the lines of the occupancy of those hotels, which are very well occupied in Ridgeland.” Hart said the city’s hotels that already run along I-55 run at an occupancy rate of 85 to 90 percent. City-wide, hotels remain at about 65 percent occupancy. “That’s a remarkable statistic… Anything over 60 percent, according to Young Strategies, is a very healthy occupancy rate.” Ridgeland Hospitality LLC will own both I-55 hotels, according to developer Chico Patel, president of Heritage Hospitality Group. “Heritage Hospitality Group is our umbrella company that essentially owns Ridgeland Hospitality and many other hotels across the country,” he said. “We were able to work with city leaders the last several months and ultimately produce what we think is a great product for us and the city of Ridgeland. Ridgeland is great hotel market… It is very exciting to have these projects in our backyard.” NewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 23 min. ago more
  • Graham pushes lawmakers to streamline process  for interlocal agreementsGraham pushes lawmakers to streamline process for interlocal agreements

    District One Supervisor Robert Graham wants lawmakers to make it easier for Hinds County to pave city of Jackson streets. The board of supervisors met with the Hinds County legislative delegation last week to hammer out its 2018 legislative agenda. Among items, Graham wants the state to provide more funding for roads and bridges, and to streamline the process for setting up interlocal agreements. Graham said the process needs to be improved to make it easier for the county to do work in the capital city, including paving streets and cutting grass. He said the county was stymied by the previous city administration, which drug its feet when signing off on interlocal agreements. “We hope the legislature will relax some of the rules,” Graham said. Under state law, before one jurisdiction can work on a project in another jurisdiction, such as a road repaving project, both governments must sign an interlocal agreement. The document then must be submitted to the Mississippi attorney general for approval. Graham said the administration under former Mayor Tony Yarber delayed several county-funded road projects, because the administration would not sign off on the agreements allowing them.  Last year, confusion surrounded why the county was unable to pave several city streets, even though it had obtained funding and hired contractors to do the work. County officials said Jackson was dragging its feet, while the city, at the time, argued that Hinds County wanted to pave the streets without the city’s input. Graham believes the county and city should continue to communicate on projects to ensure no duplication of services and reduce confusion, but would like lawmakers to limit the time a governmental entity has to review an agreement to two weeks. “If they’re not signed off on within that time, then (entities) would be freed up to look into other options,” he said.   Interlocal agreements aside, the county also wants more money for road and bridge maintenance. Graham said the board will be asking the legislature to provide full funding for the Local Street and Bridge Project (LSBP) program. LSBP funds are provided by the state through the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction to help counties address local bridge and road needs. The county had hoped to use LSBP dollars this year to reopen some of its closed bridges, but the county received no funding because of state budget cuts. “No county got a dime,” Graham said. “In the past, we’ve always counted on some funds to help with bridges.” In part to make up for that loss, the board voted 4-1 on a two-mill property tax increase as part of its 2018 budget. Graham was the lone dissenting vote. Graham would also like to see the state divert sales tax dollars to counties to pay for infrastructure improvements, as well as the state to allocate funding to help the county pay for a new emergency operations center. The center is currently located in the basement of the Eudora Welty Library. The library was temporarily closed by the state fire marshal in October for a number of safety violations. The emergency operations center handles the county’s 911 services, oversees the county’s 12 volunteer fire departments, and serves as the county’s Department of Homeland Security office, according to Emergency Management Director Ricky Moore. Moore said the county is looking to relocate the center, but had not found a new building at press time. He estimates it would cost more than a million dollars, not including costs to retrofit the building to serve as EOC headquarters. The library’s problems have not impacted the center’s operations. However, complications with the sewer pump located in Welty’s basement has made working conditions unpleasant at times.   A pump is needed to carry sewage out of the basement, because it is below the city’s gravity-based sewer system. The pump is checked several times a week by Jackson city officials, but occasionally goes out. “Sure you can smell it, but it’s not something that would keep us from doing our job,” he said.   NewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Honor RollHonor Roll

    Students listed to the honor roll at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School for the first quarter include:   Seventh Grade High Honor Roll:  Lauren Balfour, Elizabeth Beckett, Ella Bennett, Andrew Carron, J. C. Cook, Jack Crawford, Sandra Crowder, Preston Daily, Jonmejoy Dhar, Anna Everly, Grace Jasinski, Jamie Jenkins, Anthony Jones, Sophia Lewis, Anna Maria Martin, Lucy McCain, Sinclair McKinney, Isabella Ngai, Natalie Orgeron, Dev Patel, Sarah Belk Poulson, Carrol Rappai, Heath, Seawright, Hadley Simms, Arvin Talwar, Nehemiah Thompson, Zehra Yousuf, Alexandra Zevallos, Catherine Zhou; Honor Roll:  Jasmine Bennett, Ethan Bye, Connor Dunnigan, Osejie Ewaleifoh, Sehej Gosain, Tia Harris, Ryder Hebert, Lily Hillhouse, Celeste Lazzari, Kira Leflore, Lottie McHardy, Saanvy Patel, Celestina Retumban, Charles Sanders, Gurmanav Singh, J’Air Walters-Demerritt, Clayton Wilkins, Mark Edward Wilson, Grant Worsley, Benjamin Wright, Canaan Yates;   Eighth Grade High Honor Roll:  Advikaa Anand, Emma Brown, Isabella Brumley, Anna Buckley, Betsy Burrow, Paige Case, Morgan Chambers, Evan Champney, Ava Chevalier, Joe Cochran, Charlie Corkern, Drew Cronin, Terrence Dotson, Enyonam Dzathor, Eli Everett, Isabella Flores, Liam Galaty, Zoe Hairston, Keifer Hardy, Joshua Harvel, Raymond Huang, Hannah Grace Kerr, Max Lanford, Liza Lominick, Ashley McCaughan, John McElroy, Jacob McGrath, Ricky Miller, Owen Newburger, Dami Oluwatade, Lea Douglas Packer, Khushi Patel, Rhodes Pharr, Cate Purvis, Stanley Qu, Avery Stallings, Emma Stokic, Jory Tanaka, Marley Tanner, Yasmine Ware, McKenna Wheatley; Honor Roll:  Elyce Dotson, Mayrant Gonwa, Taylor Grigsby, Jamon Harkless, Mariah Johnson, Sage Sharp, Sierra Sharp, Devlyn Williams, Matthew Azordegan;   Ninth Grade High Honor Roll: Maya Adams, Saatvik Agrawal, Adeline Anderson, Claire Azordegan, Jackson Bataille, Byron Bishop Byron, Sabrina Borg, Michelle Bramlett, Abigail Calimaran, Victoria Callahan, Caroline Croft, Vitor Da Silva, Andrew Ditto, Reed Finseth, Savannah Grace Gober, Sarah Beth Greener, Madeleine Halford, Alisa Hill, Reed Hooks, Forrest Hutchison, Walter Johnson, Ava Ketner, Erinn Kim, Audrey Koltz, Rush Lacoste, Olivia McKee, Nilah Miller, Xenia Minton, Alex Mungan, Charles Mungan, Yahya Naveed, Ashlynn Payne, Ellie Peterson, Rand Raju, Sarah Bradford Seawright, Maris Thompson, Eli Venarske, Claire Waddell; Honor Roll: Rashad Bolden, Alex Brown, Austin Brown, Bella Brumfield, Iain Brumley, Chadwick Collins, Meritt DeVoss, Selase Dzathor, Dallas Ford, Gary Gao, Tanner Hendrix, Anna Jaubert, Anna Owens, James Polk, Sofia Rodriguez, Allison Santa-Cruz, Betsy Seage, Christian Simms, Samantha Smith, Betsy Van Meter, Chloe Ward, Eliza Warnock, Elizabeth Wills;   Tenth Grade High Honor Roll: Ann Louise Blackwood, Meredith Boles, Jack Brown, Lauren Brown, Van Bui, Ellie Caraway, Chloe Chen, Osose Ewaleifoh, Reeves Fisackerly, Audrey Funkhouser, Kaylan Hall, Auburn Hamme, Olivia Huckabay, Steve Jiang, John Kees, Sameer Khan, Manal Khawaja, Lizzie Lee, Emma Lewis, Vinson Lu, Abby McCaughan, Grace McIntire, Kallen Mitchell, Olivia Mitchell, Wake Monroe, Cole Morse, Toni Oluwatade, Ebun Opata, Sapna Patlolla, Miley Ray, Kenneth Retumban, Joshua Robertson, Garima Sharma, Harrison Speed, Molly Spencer, Henry Teal, Sacheen Tipnis, Jackson Van Meter, Jason Wang, Victoria Wang, Jenny Wang, Aubrey Ward, John Mychal Warren, Isaac Watts, Hayes Waycaster, Simone Weatherspoon, Phoebe Xu, Caleb Young, Charlie Young, Amy Zhang; Honor Roll: Kaleb Cassidy, Jo’vette Hawkins, Anna Jordan Hendrix, Irene Huang, William Langford, Buhlebenkosi Maposa, Christopher McCain, Horace McMillon, Kate Rodenmeyer, Sauny Sewell, Jordan Simmons, Mirren Viola, Noel Wiggs;   Eleventh Grade High Honor Roll: Will Atkins, Grace Azordegan, Anna Kathryn Becker, Ishan Bhatt, Bradley Brantley, Price Bryan, Stephen Cook, Jordyn Davis, Guy Easterling, Ian Espy, Luis Flores, Katlyn Garner, William Harkless, Henry Hawkins, Khalil Jackson, Meredith Johnson, Logan Koltz, Seth McCaughan, Bain McHale, Jake Mitchell, Julia Mitchell, Grant Morgan, Lindsay Moriarity, Clay Morris, Victoria Mungan, Muhammad Nafis, Nicole Pan, Vivian Pryor, Reilley Pucheu, Allen Ryu, Henry Sanders, Charlie Sewell, Yetunde Shekoni, Tucker Shelson, Avery Thomas, Trey Till, Nate Venarske, Dorian Wang, Jay Warnock, Logan Wood, James Xu, Faraaz Yousuf; Honor Roll: Luis Arceo, Charley Blount, Hess Booth, Hunter Bryson, Jake Bryson, David Caddle, Anna Katherine Case, Collins Cooke, Evan Decker, Trey Ellison, Drew Fox, Isabella Fraser, Ricky Garcia, Mia Hammond, Callie Keen, Olivia Lantrip, Claire Lominick, Katie Miller, Zahra Naveed, Elizabeth Panter, Saffron Quinn, Elijah Schwirian, John Sistrunk, Holland Townes, Lexi Wells, Oliver Westover;   Twelfth Grade High Honor Roll: Hana Ando, Elizabeth Angel, Mina Arain, Maya Bahro, Avery Barham, Kerri Beck, Paige Blackwood, Forrest Bobbitt, Zach Bobbitt, Evan Bowman, Ally Brumfield, Katlyne Callahan, Olivia Campbell, Grace Carroll, C.J. Carron, Ben Case, Ethan Chevalier, Fletcher Clark, Anna Cranford, Alyssa Cronin, Kayla Crossley, Cameron Daniels, Kamryn Davis, Dalton Dear, Jasmine Deng, Arko Dhar, Jack Ditto, Taylor Donnelly, Darby Farr, Alex Forbes, Virginia Kate Gammon, Sarah Gerrets, Trey Gray, Parker Grogan, Joe Han, Charley Hutchison, Julia Jia, Destini Jimerson, John Spencer Jones, Emily Kruse, Brooks Lacoste, Gracie LaRue, Ike LaRue, Betsy Little, Lindley Grace Longstreet, Turner Martin, Isabel May, Wade Montjoy, Emmanuel Opata, Satwik Pani, Chappel Pettit, Larry Qu, Richard Rein, Ruth Ann Richardson, Dae Robinson, Sam Roffwarg, Tovah Rubinsky, Katie Seage, Jack Smithson, Warner Speed, Sarah Springer, Lauren Hailey Tanaka, Banks Tolley, Christian Wade, Lauren Watson, Madeleine Wiggs, Gena Rose Wiley, Zoe Williams, Abby Young; Honor Roll: Ghaith Aleithawe, Hughes Boling, Julia Farley Collins, Sam Cupples, Joseph Garner, Wynn Garriga, Addie Hillhouse, Brandon Johnson, Sam Marcus, Jennie Odom, Krista Stephens, Victoria Todd, Nolan Turner, Drew Waddell.Honor roll students NewsBreaking News

    The Northside Sun / 1 d. 8 h. 30 min. ago more
  • UPDATE: Missing Jackson man found safeUPDATE: Missing Jackson man found safe

    The missing 54-year-old Jackson man has been found safe. 

    WLBT / 1 d. 8 h. 59 min. ago
  • JPS Commission Pushes Work Forward, Sets DeadlineJPS Commission Pushes Work Forward, Sets Deadline

    The Lincoln Gardens apartment complex ran out of parking fast on Thursday night. The "Better Together" commission to analyze the needs of Jackson's public schools held its second meeting in the Lincoln Gardens community center, off Medgar Evers Drive in northwest Jackson, which filled to standing-room only. The commission split into its two working groups: one to brainstorm community engagement, the other to hammer out details on writing the request-for-proposal to find a contractor to conduct an in-depth analysis of Jackson Public Schools. The RFP group crowded into the computer lab of the apartment complex with three reporters. Claiborne Barksdale and Robyn Rosenthal, a communications manager with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, joined on speakerphone as the group hammered out their timelines for the request-for-proposal. The RFP should be final by Nov. 30, when the commission meets again, and groups can submit applications through December. The January timeline still needs to be finalized, but the group ideally wants to have a contractor to complete the study in place by January 2018. "The work lies with casting the broad net on getting it out there—that's where it lies. If the net is not broad enough cast ..., then we fail," Yumeka Rushing, program manager with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said. The study will likely take anywhere between seven to 10 months to complete. Barksdale pointed out that the study of schools in Battle Creek, Mich., took 10 months to complete, meaning if the contractor begins work in February, the study might not be finished until December 2018. While the RFP group huddled in the computer lab, the community center came alive with engagement from everyone in attendance. The other commissioners, working on engagement strategies, huddled and brainstormed ways to solicit as much community input as possible for the study. Advocates, Jacksonians and JPS parents at the meeting also split into two groups and discussed what community engagement looks like and how Jacksonians would respond best to surveys and door-to-door canvassing. Pam Shaw, a community advocate speaking for her group, said people need to be engaged in expansive and inclusive ways. "It is important ... that you use multiple ways of getting information out so that it touches lots of folk, so it's not just an email, it's not just Facebook," she said. "It is creating a space where people feel welcome, and if they feel welcome, they will participate and engage." Kathleen Grigsby, principal at Davis IB Elementary School and a commission member, echoed Shaw's comments, saying the group plans to meet and host more informal meetings in all seven of the city's wards going forward. "We don't want to be just another committee that's just here that's a talking head and yet again continue to do the same ole same ole," she said. Grigsby said the commission wants to poll parents as well as students from fourth to 12th grades. Additionally, Rushing said the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is interested in creating a separate student engagement piece of the process, where student leaders can solicit feedback from their peers. The foundation has hired a polling firm based in New Orleans to begin conducting polls in the city through the end of 2017. The polls will help inform the on-the-ground canvassing efforts scheduled to follow the polling. Jacksonians interested in submitting feedback or those that have questions can send them to bettertogetherms@gmail.com until the website is launched in the next few weeks. The next meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 30, at Bailey APAC Middle School at 4:30 p.m. Read more about the third option takeover of Jackson Public Schools at jacksonfreepress.com/jpstakeover. Email state reporter at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 1 d. 11 h. 53 min. ago more
  • JPS Commission Pushes Work Forward, Sets Deadline - Jackson Free PressJPS Commission Pushes Work Forward, Sets Deadline - Jackson Free Press

    Jackson Free PressJPS Commission Pushes Work Forward, Sets DeadlineJackson Free PressThe "Better Together" commission to analyze the needs of Jackson's public schools held its second meeting in the Lincoln Gardens community center, off Medgar Evers Drive in northwest Jackson, which filled to standing-room only. The commission split ...

    Google News / 1 d. 11 h. 53 min. ago more
  • 17 Most Segregated Cities in America17 Most Segregated Cities in America

    Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages. We only allow registered users to use ad blockers.

    Jackson News / 1 d. 17 h. ago
  • In a Mudbound,a Dee Rees crafts a Jim Crow epic of 2 familiesIn a Mudbound,a Dee Rees crafts a Jim Crow epic of 2 families

    The movies have tended to skip from slavery to the Civil Rights movement, but Dee Rees' "Mudbound" plunges into the complex tragedies of the in-between era of Jim Crow.

    Jackson News / 1 d. 21 h. 50 min. ago
  • Winners of the MBJ's Best of Mississippi poll is announcedWinners of the MBJ's Best of Mississippi poll is announced

    Listed are the Top 3 in each of the 25 Best of Mississippi Business reader poll categories.

    Jackson News / 2 d. 2 h. 21 min. ago
  • Road closures in preparation for Bicentennial Celebration and museum openingsRoad closures in preparation for Bicentennial Celebration and museum openings

    A traffic alert has been issued for the city of Jackson in preparation of the Bicentennial Celebration and the museum openings, 

    WLBT / 2 d. 2 h. 55 min. ago
  • Mississippi Lottery Committee continues discussions at State CapitolMississippi Lottery Committee continues discussions at State Capitol

    The Lottery Study Committee is weighing the pros and cons, but will not make a recommendation for or against.

    WLBT / 2 d. 5 h. 56 min. ago
  • Suspect in 6-year-old Kingston Frazier's murder to be released todaySuspect in 6-year-old Kingston Frazier's murder to be released today

    One of the suspects accused in the horrific murder of 6-year-old Kingston Frazier has bonded out and has been released from the Madison County Detention Center. The Madison County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that 17-year-old Dwan Wakefield has been given a $275,000 bond.

    Jackson News / 2 d. 7 h. ago
  • more news
  • Medical building named for Mississippi Gov. Phil BryantMedical building named for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

    The University of Mississippi Medical Center is naming a building for Gov. Phil Bryant.

    Jackson News / 2 d. 9 h. 21 min. ago
  • UPDATED: Feds Threaten Jackson Funds Over Immigration 'Sanctuary' PolicyUPDATED: Feds Threaten Jackson Funds Over Immigration 'Sanctuary' Policy

    UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from Mayor Lumumba on the DOJ letter, released this afternoon. The U.S. Department of Justice does not know the City of Jackson has a new mayor. In a letter addressed to Mayor Tony Yarber but dated Nov. 15, 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson asked the City of Jackson to review its "sanctuary city" ordinance in order to receive federal funds from the Office of Justice Programs going forward. Jackson has an anti-profiling ordinance that prohibits police officers in the city from asking about a person's immigration status unless it is "relevant to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense, or when processing an arrested person." The ordinance, often referred to as a "sanctuary policy," has been on the books since 2010. This year, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law to make sanctuary cities illegal in the state, and following President Donald Trump's lead, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law. Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba so far has been a staunch supporter of immigrants living in the city—he signed a letter in September encouraging Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Lumumba's father, the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, introduced the anti-profiling ordinance in 2010 when he was a Jackson City Council member. Mayor Lumumba believes that the city's anti-profiling ordinance does not violate federal law. “The City of Jackson is firmly committed to promoting and securing safe communities. We unflinchingly uphold the canon of human rights for human beings. Racial profiling is patently illegal, violating the U.S. Constitution’s principle assurance of equal protection under the law to all and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Furthermore, racial profiling is ineffective," Mayor Lumumba said in a press release. "It alienates communities from law enforcement, disrupts community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to forfeit credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve. It is my belief that the action taken by the City of Jackson to enact an anti-racial profiling ordinance is not in violation of the law, but to the contrary is an effort to undergird the long-standing ideals that are firmly cemented within our justice system.” The U.S. Department of Justice sent the letter to 28 other jurisdictions, including states, cities and counties around the country that "may have" sanctuary policies that violate a federal statute that promotes information-sharing related to immigration enforcement. "Jurisdictions that adopt so-called 'sanctuary policies' also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the press release. "I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens." The City has until Dec. 8, 2017, to submit a response that "addresses whether Jackson has laws, policies, or practices that violate section 1373." Section 1373 of the U.S. Constitution says, "Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual." The letter also mentions federal funding that goes to the City through the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. "Please address whether you would comply with section 1373 throughout the award period, should you receive an FY 2017 Byrne JAG grant award. To the extent Jackson laws or policies contain so called 'savings clauses,' please explain in your submission the way these savings clauses are interpreted and applied, and whether these interpretations are communicated to Jackson officers or employees," Hanson writes. The city of Jackson is slated to receive $252,439 this year in JAG allocations, a list from the office of Justice Programs shows . The City can spend JAG grants on several program areas from law enforcement, prosecution and crime prevention, to corrections, mental health and behavioral programs. The letter says that the department has not made a final determination yet regarding Jackson's compliance with Section 1373. "This letter does not constitute final agency action and nothing in this letter creates any right or benefit enforceable at law against the United States," Hanson writes. Email reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 2 d. 11 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Kathleen GrigsbyKathleen Grigsby

    Kathleen Grigsby combines a love for swimming and education as the coach of the Murrah High School swim team and the principal of Davis Magnet IB World School. She has spent 17 years as part of the Jackson Public School system and is currently in her fourth year of being principal at Davis IB. In high school, Grigsby swam for the East Baton Magnet High School swim team in Louisiana. She admits that she wasn't the best swimmer on the team, but she did help the school capture a state championship in the sport in her senior year. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, and her Master of Education for curriculum and instruction in 1999. In 2011, she received a doctorate in educational leadership from Mississippi College. Grigsby continued to share her love for swimming when she taught swim lessons at Little Blessings from Heaven Daycare over the summer in 2017. "It started out as a class for toddlers, but soon, the class began to grow," she says. "Eventually, I was teaching swimming to young toddlers up to adults that wanted to learn." While teaching those classes, she began to hear about others' desire to start a swim team at Murrah High School. The idea started when student Matthew Araujo approached his parents about wanting to start a team. Araujo's mother, Evelyn, approached Jackson Public School Athletics Director Clinton Johnson with the idea in 2011, and he liked it. Grigsby had to get her new team up and running quickly, though, with the season starting in August of this year. Students from Murrah and the Bailey Academic and Performing Arts Complex Middle School came together to form the 11-member swim team. "Some members of the team had some experience, and some had no experience," Grigsby says. "That is what was so special about this team: seeing the potential in these students." The team competed in four meets in Madison, Vicksburg and Flowood, but faced long odds against teams that featured 40 to 50 members. One of the main focuses besides just competition was to have the team members improve their individual times, Grigsby says. "Some of the team members decreased time by 20 to 30 seconds this season," she says. "I know it sounds cliche, but all I wanted this season was (for) each member to be the best that you can be." The team had a major success in its first year, as well. Freshman Jake Sewell qualified for the state meet in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, which gives the team something to build on for year two of the program in 2018. Grigsby says that she was not alone in getting the team off the ground in year one. Evelyn Araujo helped with coaching and gave students rides to practice, and Brian and Eddie Ware, who coach the Mako Swim Team, let the Murrah team use the pool at the University Wellness Center in Flowood. "We are in the same pool as some of the other students we compete against, but the Ware brothers and other swim teams across this state are all about furthering the sport," Grigsby says. She says that right now, Delta State University is the only university in the state that offers a collegiate swim program. "In order to spread swimming to other universities, we need to produce strong swimmers from our high-school programs," she says. Grigsby describes her leadership style as both a swim coach and principal as testimonial and inspirational. She hopes to help her students learn to work smarter and stay grounded to get through difficult situations. She says that, over the season, she has learned to divide her time as a principal and a coach. "I spend my day as a principal of a top-ranked school and have to keep on top of my coaching duties, so I have to remind myself that (I'm at) Davis Magnet during school hours and coaching late in the afternoon," she says. This Saturday, Nov. 18, the first swim team in Murrah history will gather to celebrate all their accomplishments of the season, but Grigsby is already thinking about next year. "No matter what happens with the alternative solution (the state- and city-appointed Better Together Commission) instead of a takeover of JPS schools, I hope everyone will keep the children at the forefront and keep all academic and athletic clubs intact next year," she says. For more information about the swim team, email kgrigsby@jackson.k12.ms.us, JPS Athletic Director Clinton Johnson at cljohnson@jackson.k12.ms.us or the swim team email address at mustangswimms@gmail.com

    Jackson Free Press / 2 d. 11 h. 41 min. ago more
  • Governor Calls for Free Community College, New Ed Formula, Reduced MedicaidGovernor Calls for Free Community College, New Ed Formula, Reduced Medicaid

    Gov. Phil Bryant released his budget recommendations this week, with an emphasis on education funding, particularly as it relates to workforce development. Bryant suggests adding $7 million in funds for the Mississippi Works Scholarship Program, which would "incentivize high school seniors and adults already in the workplace by offering free community college degrees, certificates and apprenticeships," the governor's recommendation says. His education budget proposal also includes an increase in funding for Jobs for Mississippi Graduates. Bryant chairs the national board of Jobs for American Graduates, a national nonprofit focused on preventing dropouts. The governor also called on the Legislature to update the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, called MAEP, the education-funding formula responsible for most of the State's funding to public school districts. In early 2017, EdBuild, an education nonprofit, released its recommendations to update the funding formula. The proposal calls for a formula that weights student funding based on student needs. For example, students in poverty and English-language learners—as well as technical and vocational education programs—would receive more funding. "I look forward to an open and robust debate about the funding formula reforms during the 2018 legislative session," Bryant's budget recommendations say. "While this budget recommends level funding for MAEP for FY2019, adjustments may be needed to accommodate the new formula." MAEP, written in 1997, has only been fully funded twice in its existence. Discussions about potential legislative changes were kept behind closed doors and out of the hands of most lawmakers last session. However, based on lawmakers' public comments since then, Mississippians can expect to see more discussions in the 2018 legislative session. House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Clinton Republican, told business leaders at the annual Hobnob Mississippi this year that lawmakers' motivation to re-write the funding formula is to prepare students to enter the workforce. State Superintendent Carey Wright supports the funding formula re-write as well, telling reporters this fall that it makes sense to fund students based on their needs to provide "equitable funding." Bryant's budget recommendations also include increased funding for the Department of Public Safety pensions and a graduate trooper school, while slashing more than $1 million in Medicaid funding. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, made up of representatives and senators, will adopt its budget recommendations in December. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 2 d. 11 h. 46 min. ago more
  • Just one more year is the refrain on I-55 construction near ByramJust one more year is the refrain on I-55 construction near Byram

    By CALLIE DANIELS BRYANT After five years Mississippi Department of Transportation is ready to complete the widening of I-55 between Jackson and Byram by next August.

    Jackson News / 2 d. 14 h. 1 min. ago
  • 'Girls on the Run' teaches young ladies how to be healthy, confident 'Girls on the Run' teaches young ladies how to be healthy, confident

    Girls on the Run is a program focused on uplifting girls by inspiring them to be joyful, healthy and confident.

    WAPT / 2 d. 14 h. 55 min. ago
  • CLE on Title and Conveyancing: Handling the Top IssuesCLE on Title and Conveyancing: Handling the Top Issues

    The National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Title and Conveyancing: Handling the Top Issues , which will take place on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, MS. Provided below is a description of the event: Transferring title from seller to buyer may seem straightforward, but the devil is all too often in the details that lie buried in deeds, legal descriptions, title commitments and more.

    Jackson News / 3 d. 3 h. 50 min. ago more
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  • How Integration Failed in Jackson’s Public Schools from 1969 to 2017How Integration Failed in Jackson’s Public Schools from 1969 to 2017

    It was a cold winter day in 1969, but Brenda Walker was not thinking about the weather when she put her coat in her locker. After all, Central High School in the middle of downtown Jackson had radiators to heat the classrooms. Central was traditionally an all-white high school, but Walker was one of a handful of black students who opted to attend Central despite little encouragement from family or friends. Black students were allowed to voluntarily integrate white schools in Jackson after Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When Walker walked into her biology class, she noticed all the students sitting on the side of the room nearest the door—but that was not unusual. She was usually the sole black student in her classes, and she was accustomed to her white counterparts never sitting in the same row as her due to her race. This day, however, she noticed that her classmates wore coats and hats. As she took her place in a row of her own next to the windows, she realized the large glass panes were wide open. She had walked into a trap, and she was stuck. "Oh God, they planned this," she thought to herself, realizing that she could not just get up to go to her locker for her coat and still get back to class on time. The biology teacher, who Walker remembers was not white or black but cannot recall his name, came in and began teaching. Walker, the only black student in the class, was shivering. The white students, bundled in their coats and hats, were warm and smug. The biology teacher walked over to the window and began closing them one-by-one as he taught. Soon, the class was stifling hot, and the white students began to remove their gear. "No, everybody that has a coat or a hat on leave them on until the next period," the teacher told the class. Walker remembers that day with gratitude because her biology teacher at least in an indirect way acknowledged the discrimination she had experienced. She recalls her choral music teacher never saying a corrective word to her white classmates, who always managed to make sure that the books she placed neatly on a chair during practice ended up on the floor. Jackson's public schools, like the majority in the state, remained solidly separate and unequal in the 1950s and 1960s despite the ruling in the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision in 1954, which struck down school segregation by race. One look inside Central High School, and it was clear that Mississippi had no intention of integrating its schools. Walker knew this when she decided to enroll. Her parents, a cement finisher and a seamstress, worked hard to send her to an all-black Catholic school, Christ the King, for all of elementary and part of middle school. In middle school, she had to go to Blackburn, however, which was a shock for the somewhat sheltered, youngest child in her family. Blackburn was all-black. For high school, Walker had the option to attend a white school, technically speaking. By then, students had the legal choice to go to white schools, but few black families were willing to send their children to all-white, potentially hostile schools. Walker was determined, and based on her life experiences up to that point, she did not see any reason white classmates should treat her differently. All of the white people she had encountered had not treated her any differently on account of her skin color. And she was determined to show she could succeed in an integrated school. "I read an article, and I can't remember who it was by, but it said if you put a black student and a white student together, the black student couldn't keep up," she recalls. That motivated the determined teen to tell her parents she wanted to attend Central. Once she enrolled, her father would pick her up every day right when school ended to make sure she did not linger in hallways or on the school grounds because he believed it was potentially dangerous for her. Walker says she found a group of white girls who befriended her and walked her to class every day. The posse ended up protecting Walker, she believes, because no one would harass her or say anything to her after that. In Jackson's public schools, Walker was an anomaly at the time. The majority of students stayed in schools separated by race. By 1969, Walker's junior year, more than 39,000 black and white students were enrolled in the school district in Jackson, mostly attending separate but decidedly unequal schools. Disseminating 'Racial Facts' While much of the country grappled with how to integrate schools in light of the 1954 Brown decision, Mississippi doubled down on keeping public schools separate and unequal. Instead of combining student bodies or distributing students evenly across public schools in Jackson, school leaders here opted to raise more funds to give to the black schools—even though still less than the predominantly white schools enjoyed. The Jackson Municipal Separate School District was separated by race into all-black and predominantly white schools. Brinkley, Jim Hill and Lanier High Schools served only black students, while Murrah, Central, Provine and Wingfield served predominantly white students. Central had the most black students voluntarily attending, with 84 enrolled in 1969, while Wingfield had no black students attending the fall before court-ordered integration, an archived report from the state auditor's office shows. Historic public-school enrollment records from the Mississippi Department of Education show that, pre-integration, black schools in Jackson were overcrowded in comparison to the white schools. Charles Bolton notes in his heavily researched book, "The Hardest Deal of All," that in 1968, the district served 10,000 black students and 11,000 white elementary-aged students—but had 26 white elementary schools and only 13 black elementary schools. Soon after the 1954 Brown decision—a day many white Mississippians called "Black Monday"—a former Mississippi State University football star, Robert "Tut" Patterson," started the Citizens' Council in Indianola, Miss., to push back on integration. The white-supremacist organization quickly attracted a strong membership of business owners and leaders from around the state, including Jackson. It fought integration, through economic boycotts and intimidation of black and white people who might go along with it, and eventually boasted more than 80,000 members in chapters across the South. In 1956, the Legislature appropriated funds to the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a state spy agency that investigated "suspicious" white and black citizens for any possible efforts at integration, including a white business owner allowing a black person to use their public restroom. The Sovereignty Commission also helped fund the Citizens' Council; both were supported by an extremely racist media network in the state, led then by The Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News in the capital city. Early in its tenure in the 1950s, the Citizens Council used intimidation to keep citizens of all races from acting on their new federal right to integrate public schools. But by the mid-1960s, with more schools in surrounding states allowing integration, Citizens' Council leaders grew increasingly worried about integration actually occurring in the state's public schools, and began to plan accordingly. The Council disseminated a swath of public documents with "racial facts" and newsletters to Jackson parents warning them of the rising tide of integration. "It is better to miss school altogether than to integrate. (Mississippi has no compulsory [sic] attendance law)," a bulletin released by the Jackson's Citizens' Council in August 1964 said. In a special session in 1964, the all-white Mississippi Legislature passed the tuition-grant law, allowing public funds to be used on private, non-sectarian schools. This allowed white people to send their children to "council schools" using taxpayer dollars. In the capital city, the Citizens' Council opened its first school in the fall of 1964. The all-white Legislature implemented a "freedom of choice" program, enabling students to choose which school they wanted to attend and enabling some black students to attend white schools, if they dared. Bolton describes "freedom of choice" as a delaying tactic for white officials in Mississippi that worked quite effectively in courts until almost the end of the decade. "Freedom-of-choice desegregation was viewed by Mississippi segregationists as a way to bend their devotion to racial segregation just enough to satisfy federal laws and black demands while preserving as much of their dual school system as possible," Bolton wrote in his book. Thus, for more than a decade after integration was federal law, Mississippi successfully kept most white and black children separate through a network of laws. The Council schools, listed in archived non-public school records as "C 2, C 3, etc.," were mainly named after the streets they were built on. Council Manhattan was on Manhattan Road, for example. The Citizens' Council opened five schools in Jackson, records show. By 1979, the Council schools are listed as "academies" in archived data from the Mississippi Research and Development Center. In 1979, three "segregation academies" remained in Jackson: Manhattan Academy, Magnolia Academy and McCluer Academy (spelled McCleur in archived records). The academies faded out in the mid-1980s, some turning into or taken over by Christian academies. Woodland Hills Baptist Academy moved to the Manhattan Road address where the Council school previously sat. Gov. Phil Bryant's south Jackson alma mater, Council McCluer, became Hillcrest Academy in 1985, for instance. Enter 'Scientific Racism' After the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964—in response to racial violence including the murder of three civil-rights workers in Neshoba County—school districts were required to file desegregation plans. Jackson's white district leaders refused, and several black parents filed a lawsuit. They alleged that the Jackson Municipal Separate School District was "a compulsory biracial school system," which violated due-process rights of the black parents and students. The school district mounted a defense, based largely on faulty science, that argued that the natural differences between black and white children were enough reason to keep the two races separate. In the Citizens Informer newspaper, The Citizen magazine and openly at public appearances, the head of the Citizens Councils of America, William J. "Bill" Simmons of Jackson pushed the myths of "scientific racism" that argued that black children were genetically inferior and, thus, could not learn as well as white kids and were more prone to crime. "We have segregation because there are distinct differences between the white and black races that make it advisable. I am not talking about total inferiority or superiority—I am talking about differences," Simmons said at a speech he made at Notre Dame University in Indiana in 1963. The federal U.S. District Court in the 1960s agreed with the scientific-racism "evidence" that Simmons and others pushed, saying the judges in the Brown case may have erred based on "evidence" presented at the Darrell Kenyatta Evers v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District case. "Defendants first presented evidence pertaining to the scholastic achievement and mental ability (I.Q.) of the members of the white and Negro races, as reflected by the records maintained by the Jackson Municipal Separate School District, and pertaining to such pupils within such District. These records disclose that there is a wide discrepancy between the scholastic achievement and the mental ability, as shown by recognized tests used nationally," U.S. District Judge Sidney Mize wrote. "These records disclosed a noticeable and substantial difference in the scholastic achievement of the members of the Negro and white races and a difference in the scores attained on the nationally recognized mental ability tests, with the white pupils consistently scoring above the national average and the Negro pupils consistently scoring below the national average. The disparity between the members of the two races as reflected by the mental ability tests became more pronounced as the age of the pupils increased." After the Evers ruling, black parents continued to fight segregation in the courts. One of the federal lawsuits, Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, ultimately produced the desegregation plan for the state's largest district in 1970. Outside the courtroom, Jackson's local school leaders attempted to keep the peace with their black counterparts in local public schools during the Civil Rights Movement. Black schools did see an influx of money in the 1960s, but it still did not equal the funding in white schools. Jackson spent $149 on each white student in 1962 and $106 per black student, data from an unpublished Mississippi Department of Education document Bolton uses in his book shows. School funding decisions became tense, as black Jacksonians began demanding their rights to more taxpayer funds for their schools. William Dalehite, an educator and administrator in the district at the time, notes in his book, "A History of Jackson Public Schools," that the NAACP helped successfully block the district from making planned classroom additions to white schools in the 1960s. In 1969, a bond issue to make Lanier High School, which was black, also a junior high school and to convert Callaway, a white school, into a senior high school failed. Dalehite notes this was the first time a bond issue failed. White and black taxpayers in Jackson suddenly were not willing to increase funding for their public schools in the face of the uncertainty that came with impending integration. Culture Shocks Fifteen years after Brown v. Board, the patience of the U.S. Supreme Court had worn out, and it lowered the boom on resistant states in the Alexander v. Holmes case—which included dozens of Mississippi school districts resisting integration—saying on Oct. 29, 1969, to integrate now. "Continued operation of racially segregated schools under the standard of 'all deliberate speed' is no longer constitutionally permissible. School districts must immediately terminate dual school systems based on race and operate only unitary school systems," the Supreme Court said. The ruling forced the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to mandate school-district leaders involved in the Singleton v. Jackson case to complete an integration plan immediately. This meant an extended 1969-70 winter break for students in Jackson as district leaders submitted, then re-submitted their integration plans to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Superintendent John S. Martin, staff and attorneys met with federal officials in Atlanta over the break, Dalehite writes, and hammered out the re-districting plan. "The superintendent and three staff members flew to Atlanta on Dec. 21 for a two-day meeting. Armloads of cumbersome maps and much pupil data were carried to the borrowed work space. A plan acceptable to HEW representatives was hammered out within hours of the Christmas Eve rush out of Atlanta," Dalehite wrote. The district closed schools for two weeks near the end of January to implement the plans, but students at the time remember the initial desegregation plans in spring 1970 as mainly a mix-up of teachers with a few students switching schools. The noticeable integration plan kicked in when students were districted for different schools come fall 1970. Robert Gibbs' world was completely segregated from the white world in Jackson. He attended all-black schools. Now a prominent trial attorney and former circuit judge in Jackson, Gibbs lived in the Virden Addition and attended an all-black church. He had no white friends or any real contact with white people, except the two white students who came to Brinkley in spring 1970 after the integration order took effect. But that fall, Gibbs was forced to leave the familial warmth of Brinkley, an all-black high school known for its culture. He lived four houses away from being slated to attend Callaway, which is where his best friends would go. Gibbs, however, was slotted into the Murrah zone. Gibbs' school experience—from Brinkley to Murrah—was a huge shift for the 11th grader. He had played drums in the band at Brinkley and recalls the upbeat, soulful music with majorettes who danced to almost every song with swag. "My band at Brinkley went from playing songs by James Brown to doing the 'Good Ship Lollipop,'" Gibbs told the Jackson Free Press. "You talk about a culture shock, that was a culture shock." Murrah also meant that Gibbs was now on his own in the classroom—not that it mattered. Gibbs says he got good grades at both Brinkley and Murrah, but the attention he got from teachers changed. "The teachers that we had at Brinkley were nurturing. They wanted to make sure we did well, and if we didn't do well, they would pick up the phone and call our parents," Gibbs recalled. "Then when we integrated into Murrah, you didn't have that kind of nurturing, you know, it was like if you get, you get it and if you don't get it, that's tough. If we didn't do well, you didn't have to worry about nobody calling your home or coming to talk to you parents. You just got a bad grade and that was it." 
 Angering Bill Simmons Alan Huffman, a local writer and researcher who was attending Chastain as a ninth grader in 1969-70, remembers disarray after winter break. He said while things did not get violent, it was more just disorganization and confusion at the administrative level after court-ordered integration. From 1970 to 1971, Dalehite notes in his book that 56 teachers left the Jackson school district. Huffman asked his parents to attend Council Manhattan because that was where his best friend at the time was going. Huffman attended the Citizens' Council school on 5055 Manhattan Road for his 10th-grade year. Huffman said as a 15-year-old white kid, air conditioning and the ability to drink Coke in a Council school was enough to convince him to go. However, he did not last long there. Huffman found Council Manhattan in the same disarray as Chastain, he recalled. He had two study-hour periods back-to-back with no instruction, and he began reading copies of The Citizen, a magazine Simmons and the Citizens' Council produced, that sat in the school's library. "It was all about how black people are genetically inferior to white people and that their mental capacities were less, and all that kind of stuff ... but it was so shocking to me," Huffman recalls. Huffman knew only a few black people growing up, he said. His parents were reasonable people, he said, but not so liberal that they were interested in going to newly integrated restaurants. He has fond memories of Helen, the family's housekeeper, but never learned her last name. Huffman said his parents never used her surname that he remembers. Reading the Citizen magazine, however, Huffman realized the writings seemed to imply Helen was inferior, too. "They were saying Helen was biologically and mentally inferior to me, and it just bothered me so I started writing letters...rebutting all of these articles," he said. Huffman's letters made their way to William J. Simmons, who called Huffman's father in for a meeting and told him that Alan needed psychiatric help. Huffman's father asked to see one of his letters, and after reading it, told Simmons, "I pretty much agree with everything he said." The confrontation with Simmons meant the end of Council school for Huffman, who was excited to transfer to Murrah High School. By fall 1970, Murrah still had a majority of white students, but 44 percent of the student body was black, archived data from the state auditor's office show. White Rush to Academies Integration in Jackson meant students could only attend certain schools within the geographic vicinity of their houses. For Dana Larkin, this meant attending Brinkley for 10th grade, after school district officials converted the formerly all-black high school into a 10th-grade attendance center. Larkin was at Bailey, on the corner of State Street and Woodrow Wilson, when the integration court order came down the spring before. Larkin's mother, however, decided public schools were out of the question after she attended a meeting at Brinkley. "The story goes, my mother went to orientation at Brinkley for me. ... She said that they really scared her and said that the dads should drive them, and it's a bad neighborhood, 'be careful.' So she said that she left there, took her car, and went to Jackson Prep and registered me, and that was that," Larkin says. Larkin was unhappy at the then-all-white Jackson Prep, which opened its doors in August 1970, because all her friends from the synagogue were in public schools. During her junior year, Larkin lobbied to go to Murrah, which she was slated to attend as her family lived in Eastover. They conceded, and Larkin graduated in 1973. The private Jackson Academy had opened back in 1959, but the opening of Jackson Prep, Woodland Hills Baptist Academy and two Council schools coincided with court-ordered integration, nonpublic school records show. The school names are all handwritten into the back of the 1969-1970 nonpublic school enrollment records stored in archives. The schools began recording enrollment numbers during fall 1970, when they opened their doors to white students. Jackson Prep's enrollment grew in those first years from 652 students in the fall of 1970 to 968 students the following school year, archived state department of education records show. The other private schools, including Jackson Academy and Woodland Hills, saw a bump in enrollment after court-ordered integration too. "Some of Jackson's wealthiest citizens established Jackson Preparatory School, which had ample resources and soon developed into a top-notch school, although it was only available to those who could afford the tuition," Bolton wrote in his book. Prep today is still majority white, but recruits black students and teachers. Private-school enrollment shot up overnight after forced integration. The Citizens' Council increased to five schools in Hinds County, serving more than 5,000 students by the 1972-1973 school year. Huffman and Larkin are two of thousands of white students who fled Jackson's public schools in the face of integration immediately, but both returned to graduate from public schools. The majority of white students who left would never return or bring future generations back, at least to date. In 1969, 39,205 students attended public school in Jackson, and the very next year, enrollment dropped to 30,713 students, historic enrollment records show. Nearly 9,000 white students pulled out almost immediately after the Supreme Court decision, an auditor's report shows. While Jackson's public-school system would swell to more than 33,000 students in the early 1990s, the district's population has not reached pre-integration levels since 1970. The district's white-student numbers continued to decrease every school year following court-ordered integration, based on anecdotal and census data. Dalehite estimates that in the three years after integration, more than 11,000 whites fled the district, mostly for private schools where black students were then not welcome nor could afford the tuition. Both St. Andrew's Episcopal School and Jackson Academy began adding grade levels starting in 1971, nonpublic school enrollment records show. Eventually, both schools grew their student-body populations to include high school-aged students—and still serve those grade levels today, with majority-white student populations. Like Jackson Prep, St. Andrew's and Jackson Academy works to recruit and maintain diverse student bodies today. 'Constant Conflicts' As white families fled to academies and private schools, many black families were forced into new schools or feeder patterns. While the black public schools by then were mostly overcrowded, the black community made do with them, and many students lamented seeing the traditions of the schools dissipate with integration. Under the desegregation plan, Brenda Walker was forced to attend Provine High School in her neighborhood in west Jackson when the court order took full effect in fall 1970. She could not continue attending Central downtown. Walker was entering her senior year at previously majority-white Provine. "I don't remember so much hostility towards me. I think it was a mass (opinion) thing. Here were these students, we're coming in their school and stuff like that, so it was just conflicts at the school in a big way," Walker said. "I don't really remember anyone saying or doing anything (drastic) ... but just that it was constant conflicts in the school. We would end up leaving school early almost every day." With so little productivity in a school day, Walker asked to transfer to Lanier High School, which had a 99-percent black population even after integration. Walker participated in a work program at the district's film library, so she only spent half-days on-campus then. Still, when she graduated in 1971, students selected her as class representative to speak at graduation. "I really felt like what I went through—all that stuff—was to get to that point," she says. "I felt appreciated." Gibbs said he and his black classmates stunned his Murrah teachers. "They were surprised at how smart and how bright and how advanced we were," he said. "I know most of the people I hung out with, we did extremely well academically at Murrah. I think it really shocked some of the (white) teachers because I do not think they expected we would perform at a level as the students who were already there." Gibbs, who went on to Tougaloo College and later law school at the University of Mississippi, says he believes his education at both Brinkley and Murrah got him to where he is today. He does not believe that the courses at Murrah got more academically challenging than the ones he had at Brinkley, and his grades stayed constantly solid throughout his high school education. Generally, black students in the district had to do the hard work of integration, leaving homogenous schools and integrating white ones. Still, Gibbs said he understands why black students had to integrate. As a son of two parents who fought for equal rights in the Civil Rights Movement, Gibbs said his parents were proud of the fact that he, and later his siblings, were able to attend integrated schools. "I understand why we had to integrate into the white school because I don't think they could have integrated into a black school because if they had to come into the culture that we had, I don't think they could have adapted as well," Gibbs said of white kids. Huffman and two of his white classmates co-edited a book called "Lines Were Drawn" about the Murrah class of 1973. While writing the book, he realized through interviews with his black classmates what a sacrifice integration was for the black community in Jackson. "We thought, as white people, that integration was all about us. It never occurred to us that it was about black people," Huffman said. "It was about us needing to let black people go to our schools. That's how we saw it, which goes back to privilege. Realizing that it was just as challenging to them was eye-opening." Even in an integrated school system, interactions and life could be awkward as black and white teens mingled for the first time, experiencing and learning from their classmates in ways they never had before. Jackson was segregated in most public spaces prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and for a few years afterward. In a way, black and white students brought integration to their households with birthday parties and the social scene. Larkin remembers inviting several of her friends from Murrah to her pool at home. "My parents ... it's hard to admit but they were definitely prejudiced," Larkin said. "One of the rebellious things I did is we had a swimming pool in our backyard, and my senior year, I invited my African American friends to come swimming because I knew it would push every button my mother had, and it did. It was a scene—she didn't do it in front of them—but it makes me feel guilty because I used them to ... rebel against my mom and my dad." As several of Huffman's Murrah classmates echo in "Lines Were Drawn," those first graduating classes in the early 1970s in Jackson experienced a special situation. "We were very, very fortunate. It (Integration) opened our eyes to so many things," Huffman said. "... It made us all better people, and now when you talk to your classmates, they recognize that." Re-segregation Sets In The Mississippi Department of Education began publishing student enrollment data by race in the early 1990s, but anecdotal evidence as well as national trends show that integration, while it lasted, peaked in the 1980s. City and county census, school-district and private-school population numbers suggest that white flight set in immediately in 1970 and continued throughout the decades following, with white families fleeing both the public schools and previously white neighborhoods such as neighborhoods around Westland Plaza and Metrocenter in west Jackson and south Jackson. Some groups, like Mississippians for Public Education—a group of mainly white women fighting for better, integrated schools—worked to keep white families in public schools and fought for the funding and resources needed throughout the district in the 1970s. Parents for Public Schools picked up their work in 1989, attempting to convince middle-class white and black families to consider staying in Jackson Public Schools and continue living and investing in the city to keep it from decaying and failing from flight and disinvestment. Susan Womack led PPS of Jackson from 2000 to 2012, where Larkin also worked. Womack would give school tours and talk to families about options in Jackson's public schools available to them, showing them the benefits of public schools. "We continued to see people just leave in droves because they weren't happy for one reason or another. It's too easy for families who have needs to give up and go somewhere else if they don't like what they're getting," Womack said. "(Families gave mainly) reasons that could have been translated to 'I'm not comfortable in this environment once the population became majority-black,' and I fully believe that's what landed us where we are today." When the Mississippi Department of Education first published race data for school districts in 1994, the district was already a majority-black district by a large margin: By then, 27,868 of the district's 32,731 students were black or 85 percent of the student body, historic MDE enrollment records from the Department of Archives and History show. Before the court order in fall 1969, black students made up 47 percent of the total student body, archived race data from the state auditor shows, but by fall 1970, 61 percent of the student body was black. Private-school enrollment skyrocketed as a result, and as the decades ticked by, Jackson schools steadily lost white students—and total enrollment numbers. Womack, who is now the associate vice president for developmental operations at Millsaps College, saw many white families who sent their children to private schools who had left public schools themselves as children after integration. "Over time, families became so accustomed to going to private schools that it became a generational thing. You know, Mississippi is such a legacy place, so that if my parents went to Jackson Prep, St. Andrew's or Jackson Academy, that's where I'm going, and now we have two generations of people who have never been inside public schools," she said. Families who left the city altogether likely account for the growth in public-school populations in Madison and predominantly Rankin County. Today, however, despite 20 percent of Jackson's population being white, white students make up less than 5 percent of the student body at JPS, indicating that they are enrolled in private institutions or home-schooled instead. 'It's What You Model' Brenda Walker adopted an infant daughter in 1991. Initially, Walker thought about sending her daughter to Christ the King but when she got laid off from her job, she sent her to JPS, unsure of being able to pay for private school. Her daughter, Alexis, grew up in the predominantly black Jackson Public Schools, attending Pecan Park, Hardy Middle School and then participating in the IB Program at Jim Hill High School. Walker said Pecan Park felt like a small, private school, noting how much she appreciated the principals Alexis had there during that time. Alexis had almost the opposite experience as her mother. Brenda estimates there were about four to five white kids in Hardy Middle School, but said her daughter was involved in enough programs and clubs outside school to expose Alexis to kids who do not look like her, like Girl Scouts. "The reason why I love integration is because that's the world," Walker says. "(In segregated schools) you really, you know, you're leaving your kids to not really seeing what it's going to be like when you get out and get a job or go to college or you know, just do these things, because it's just not a true look of what's out there." Larkin and her husband, Jonathan, sent their two daughters to JPS schools all the way through high school with them later attending Brown University and George Washington University. She says public education and fighting for her kids to have the best education possible is connected to the practice of her faith. One of the tenets of Judaism, tikkun olam, means to "repair the world." Larkin said this belief drives a lot of her justice work currently but also influenced her parenting. "(It's) what you model, not what you teach your kids or preach to your kids. It's what you model, so they saw me fighting for public schools and volunteering on the PTA and at the temple," she said. Womack and her husband have one son, whom they sent to JPS, while she was still working at PPSJ. She said when they enrolled her son in Casey Elementary, his classes were much more integrated then when he later graduated from Murrah. He was one of no more than 20 white students to walk across the stage in 2014. "People would say, 'where does your son go to school?' I would say Casey Elementary in JPS, and they would say 'Oh,' and walk away," Womack said. "It's really disturbing that the (white) community and the public have abandoned public schools so drastically in communities like Jackson, and in other communities where the majority population is black." Why Integration Matters The story of the re-segregation of Jackson’s public schools is not unique to Jackson or Mississippi. School districts across the country’s urban centers are becoming increasingly segregated along race and socioeconomic lines—and often, both. Gary Orfield, a researcher at UCLA who has studied integration and re-segregation in public schools extensively, says segregating housing policies and a lack of follow-through on integration court orders has stalled integration attempts in the U.S. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court authorized school districts to stop enforcing integration, which largely ended any efforts to integrate schools on a national level. "There hasn't been any effective desegregation plans on the demographics for a quite a long time, but the demographic changes continued because it was mostly driven by the housing market all along," Orfield told the Jackson Free Press. Orfield and a team of researchers work on the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, which produced the "Brown at 60" report in 2014. The report found that enrollment trends in the schools between 1968 and 2011 show a 28-percent decline in white enrollment, a 19-percent increase in black enrollment, and a 495-percent increase in the number of Latino students. As resources track lower in those schools due to decimated tax bases to support them, the quality of the education and the teachers tend to drop, keeping an under-educated generational cycle going for populations who were not originally allowed access to quality education. "One of the reasons that racial segregation is harmful is the strong connection between schools that concentrate black and Latino students and schools that concentrate low-income students," the Brown at 60 report says. "Prior Civil Rights Project reports have referred to this as double segregation (e.g., segregation by race and class), and we continue to see the strong relationship between the two when examining segregation in schools in 2011-12. "In 2011-12, 45.8 percent of all public school students were classified as low-income, meaning that they were eligible for free and/or reduced lunch." In JPS, 99 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, as determined by federal poverty guidelines. Orfield and his team found that in deep southern states, including Mississippi, black students make up at least one-third of the states' enrollment in public schools. This data matters because it affects black students' performance in school and then keeps the cycles of poverty and under-performance going for future generations. A 2010 study, "Schools and Inequality," analyzed student performance and race data, mirroring the Coleman Report, published following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to document the correlations between race and student performance. The report unearthed the lack of "equality of educational opportunity" in the country. University of Wisconsin researchers in 2010 found that "going to a high-poverty school or a highly segregated African American school has a profound effect on a student's achievement outcomes, above and beyond the effect of individual poverty or minority status. Specifically, both the racial/ethnic and social class composition of a student's school are 1-3/4 times more important than a student's individual race/ethnicity or social class for understanding educational outcomes," Geoffrey Borman and Maritza Dowling, who published the research, wrote. Their research found that racially segregated schools are hindering African American students' ability to achieve. "(It) is clear that racially segregated schools compromised African American students' opportunity to achieve educational outcomes equal to those of their peers at majority-White schools," the study says. "... (T)his analysis suggests that both within-school interactions among students and educators, and racial segregation across schools deny African American children equality of educational opportunity." School composition, and what happens inside the walls, can affect the performance of that school, in other words, as well as outside factors contributing to students' well-being including poverty. Richard Kahlenberg, a writer and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, cites a study on housing policies in Montgomery County, Md., where low-income students were allowed to attend fairly affluent schools and live in middle to upper-class communities with remarkable results. The study compared those students to their peers living in majority low-income neighborhoods and attending schools with new and innovative resources. "The results were unmistakable: low-income students attending more-affluent elementary schools (and living in more-affluent neighborhoods) significantly outperformed low-income elementary students who attend higher-poverty schools with state-of-the-art educational interventions," Kahlenberg writes in a paper titled "From All Walks of Life." Ultimately, the Montgomery County housing policy had the most significant, positive educational impact for low-income kids in that county. It follows that black students attending more affluent schools, largely outside Jackson, perform better than low-income students in predominantly low-income schools in the city. Clinton, Pearl and Madison County public school districts, the three most integrated districts in the Jackson metro, received "A" grades in the 2017 accountability results. The median household income in Clinton is $55,486, in Pearl is $42,323 and $64,376 in Madison County. The median household income in Jackson is $32,250. Back to 'Separate But Equal'? Hispanic students outnumber white students attending the 58 schools in JPS today, although 96 percent of the school district is African American. At some point in the mid-2000s, Womack says PPSJ shifted its focus, while still fighting to ensure the best education for everyone attending public schools. It was clear that keeping middle-class families, both white and black, in the school district had become too difficult. "It would start around middle school and parents whose families who were die-hard public-school people would move to Madison County. Parents who wanted to stay in Jackson would choose a private school," Womack said. Orfield says that while private-school enrollment is trending downward nationally, those institutions are getting whiter. The decline in private-school enrollment is among predominantly minority students, so while private schools get whiter, the public schools get less integrated—leading to the re-segregation of public schools. While the racial composition of Jackson Public Schools stayed solid throughout the 2000s, the academic performance of students deteriorated. Then, despite bringing in an out-of-state superintendent, Cedrick Gray, the district persistently received a "D" grade for most of his tenure, until 2016 when it received its first marks as a "failing" school district. During this time, enrollment data show that white students, as well as some black students, steadily left JPS to go elsewhere. Rankin County School District's population jumped from 13,663 in 1994 to 19,205 today, and while the majority of the student body there is white, the number of black students steadily increased every year. Similarly, Madison County Schools increased in student population each year. Indigo Williams' son has seen the difference between schools in Jackson Public Schools and Madison County Schools. She is one of four mothers suing the state in federal court for failing to provide a "uniform system of public free public schools." The lawsuit, brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, points out the difference in facilities and academic rigor between the two schools. The lawsuit is not asking for integration, however. "Our case really isn't about segregation as much as it is about a lack of uniformity," SPLC senior staff attorney Will Bardwell said. "When you've got these schools that are overwhelmingly black, and you compare those to schools that are overwhelmingly white, and you can see dramatically different results, then something has gone wrong." Uniformity for Williams' son would mean that he could attend a school that is equal to that of Madison Station Elementary School's academic rigor and resources. "While at Madison Station, J.E. had access to experienced teachers, fresh food in the cafeteria, a host of creative classes, an array of afterschool programming and a modern computer lab," the lawsuit says. "In contrast, at Raines (Elementary), J.E. first-year teacher had 32 students in her class at the beginning for the school year and not enough resources to support the needs of her students." The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief for the court to declare the State of Mississippi adhere to its 1868 constitutional educational clause to provide a "uniform system" of public schools. "Uniformity means offering kids, no matter where they are in the state, the same chance to get a meaningful education that prepares them to participate in the political process," Bardwell said. John Sewell and his wife, Kim, who are both white, made the conscious choice to send all three of their children to Jackson Public Schools at one point despite both attending private schools in Jackson themselves. Two of the couple's three children currently attend JPS in the Murrah feeder pattern, and Sewell says his kids attended McWillie Elementary and then tested into Bailey APAC Middle School. Even though his kids are minorities in their classes, he said they do not see it that way and believe going to schools where they are the minority is important for their futures. "Building a healthy worldview is not something that should happen when you go to college. I think, you know, just being in a diverse group of people from the time you're 7 years old is not an unhealthy thing, and it just builds a mindset that's healthy," Sewell said. One of Sewell's children attends St. Andrew's, he says, to take more challenging math courses like pre-calculus that were not offered at the right grade level for him to benefit in JPS. "Him moving to St. Andrew's is not saying JPS is not a good place to get an education," Sewell clarified. "I think it's a compliment to JPS that he's moving to a place that's harder because of the foundation that he's built." Similarly, Sewell says he does not disparage parents who choose private schools. "I don't knock anybody who does the private-school route. Everybody is going to do what they think is best for their child or children, but for us it comes down to our core beliefs and our faith," he said. "We think Jackson is a great city, and the people who live here are good, and we want to support things that make more good people." Not all kids in JPS have the option of looking at private schools, and the now second-largest district in the state recently fended off state control, at least for now. Walker, who was heavily involved in her daughter's education on both her middle school and high school PTAs, made sure Alexis participated was exposed to different kids. Alexis participated in clubs like the Civil Rights and Liberties Club, where she was able to meet and befriend some white kids. By and large, however, the district is homogenous in nature with a scarce chance of changing any time soon. Today, some JPS students, especially at schools such as Jim Hill, say they seldom interact with white people at all. Orfield suggests regionalism or magnet schools as a way to integrate schools, but regionalism requires the appetite for busing kids across district lines and for predominantly white communities to opt to attend majority black schools. If a community is fairly integrated itself, then bridging the school integration gap gets easier. "If you can manage to hold so the neighborhood stands to be integrated, what many whites want isn't just to just flee continuously, they just want to be in a school that gets their kids ready for college," Orfield said. "(They want) a school where their kid isn't the only white kid. You have to plan to do it." Black families in Mississippi, however, want a chance at a school system and resources they were promised over and over again, but ultimately never received on an equal basis—as majority politics in Mississippi since 1969 have increasingly focused on rewarding "good" districts and giving fewer resources to "failing" districts. Walker mentioned DeSoto County Schools as the state’s largest district (JPS was the state’s largest district, until with enrollment declining, DeSoto surpassed JPS in student population in 2008) with adequate resources. DeSoto County Schools is also 52-percent white, a number that has steadily decreased over the past decade. Walker also pointed to school districts like Madison, Rankin and Pearl. “They have a lot of money, and we don’t have the money,” Walker said. “So, I think integration would be great if we could bring those students into our population because the money would be different because the schools would be looked at differently.” Walker, Huffman, Gibbs and Larkin experienced the beginning of a short-lived integrated Jackson Public Schools, which re-segregated rapidly in the next 47 years. At present, the district is focused on turning around academic performance, amid a governor-run takeover, involving multiple organizations and nonprofit groups. The problem of re-segregation by both race and class, however, remains untouched. Gibbs and his wife, Debra, who is now a state representative, chose to send their two children to JPS schools despite their financial ability to send them elsewhere. Gibbs said the re-segregation of public schools in Jackson by both race and economics is disappointing. “It started back with integration because a lot of the white parents then took their kids out, and now that has continued. … It’s not only separation by race but also separation by economics,” he said. “I think some of the challenges we’re having in our public schools now is because people of economic means and educational means and people who have the experience that can go in the school and help with some of the issues that they’re having, they all pull their kids out and put them in private schools. That means that the population that we have in Jackson is not only mostly African American but it’s also lower socioeconomic, which also has some bearing on the ultimate results.” Investigative journalist and MacArthur fellow Nikole Hannah-Jones has thoroughly documented the interaction of segregation by socioeconomics and race in her rigorous reporting on segregated schools. Hannah-Jones, who is black, chose to send her daughter to a segregated school, on the premise that at least they would be integrating it economically. She found in her reporting that many white parents would not even give that option a chance. “True integration, true equality, requires a surrendering of advantage, and when it comes to our own children, that can feel almost unnatural,” she wrote in a 2016 piece for the New York Times Magazine. That societal need is a main reason Gibbs said he and his wife made the decision to keep their kids in JPS. “(If) all people of means took their kids out of public schools, there would be no parents or people who had the time to leave work and go to the school and volunteer or push the teachers to do better, push the administration to do better,” Gibbs said. “It would leave our parents, who are usually working two jobs or just don’t have the time, to do those things, so we just kind of felt a mission that we were going to be advocates for public schools, and we were.” Today, Gibbs said he wants to see an integrated JPS in every way because everyone involved, and society over all, would benefit. "I would love to see the schools become more integrated, not only racially, but economically as well," he said. Correction: A previous version of this story story mis-named the song "Good Ship Lollipop" as "Bishop Lollipop," in a quote from Mr. Gibbs. We apologize for the error. The print version of this story said Huffman and his classmates who edited "Lines Were Drawn" graduated in 1971. They graduated in 1973. We apologize for the error--it has been corrected online. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 3 d. 13 h. 52 min. ago more
  • Miller Wants to End Waiting Games in Public WorksMiller Wants to End Waiting Games in Public Works

    Robert "Bob" Miller, the newly appointed director of Jackson's Department of Public Works, makes a lot of car references when he talks about city infrastructure. Miller recently purchased a 1951 Ford, which isn't quite junk, either, nor will he make it shiny and new again, he said. However, he seems dedicated to restoring Jackson to be as close to new as possible. With a sustainable approach that he developed during his time in Louisville, Ky., he plans to replace 1 to 2 percent of the infrastructure system every year in order to achieve a brand-new system in the next 50 to 100 years. Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba contacted Miller as early as December 2016 while he was still deputy director of the Sewerage and Water Board in New Orleans, a position he held for eight years. Attracted to a role with more community impact, Miller took the Jackson position in mid-October. Before New Orleans, Miller spent 26 years in Louisville, working in water services, including a two-decade stint as chief financial officer of the Louisville (Kentucky) Water Company. Both Louisville and New Orleans profited from an improved credit rating, allowing those cities to borrow more debt to repair the sewer and waters systems. Entering what he calls the "fourth quarter of his career," Miller, 59, is hopeful about the future of Jackson. In an interview in his office, he shared his plans to fix potholes, leverage the 1-percent tax and respond to the Environmental Protection Agency's consent decree against Jackson for dumping raw sewage into the Pearl River. Potholes are on everyone's minds. Will roads to the two new museums be repaired? Yes. I've got paving scheduled for the blocks immediately adjacent, surrounding the museum and also some additional blocks beyond that. And that will start in the last week of November and depending on the weather, we intend to be done before the opening (in early December). With the other leaders within the city government (I plan) to do coordinated capital planning because when you look at a street, there's more of what you don't see than what you see. Underneath there are typically drinking-water pipes ... and then sanitary sewer lines. ... As we're looking at all of our assets, (we must ask): What condition are they in? What should be replaced as we replace the street? Where does wastewater treatment stand? Jackson has two wastewater plants. The primary focus is on the largest by far—which is the Savanna Street plant. That's where we have a lot of investments we need to make on the (EPA) consent decree. I'm kind of excited. We're going in preventively where some of the piping there has reached the end of its useful life; we're taking that piping out and putting new piping in and putting new valves in. So we've got a tremendous volume of work to be done with the consent decree to be in compliance with the Clean Water Act. What is the status of the Siemens contract and the water meters? I am just getting started on that because that is going to require a significant amount of my time. Customers deserve to have accurate and timely water bills, and we've got some folks that have been getting inaccurate bills and some folks that are getting untimely bills, where they don't get a bill for some amount of time, and then when they do it's a fairly large bill. Have you ever been to the Indy 500? The cars go by at close to 200 miles an hour, and it's faster than your eyes can follow. So you have to pick a spot ... and just watch that spot and watch as the cars come through. That's a little bit like how it is in managing a billing and collections system. We have a large number of meter readings every day: billings and collections everyday. So that happens at machine speed. We have to have the machine set up right ...so that these things happen accurately. What are your plans with the 1-percent sales tax? First of all, I think the citizens were very wise to adopt that (to pay for infrastructure). But as I understand it, that is intended to be an interim measure. The approach that Dr. Robert Blaine, the (city's chief administrative officer), and I agree on is that we have to have comprehensive plans—we can't have a whole bunch of piecemeal plans; we have to fold all these plans together. The 1-percent sales tax becomes an important funding element, but it's not the only one that has to be folded in. My belief is that, and I wasn't here when it was adopted, that there's a sunset time period on that. And while the community may choose to renew it, in the meantime, I believe the community is expecting us to get our financial house in order so each of the systems pays their own way. What tangible action items should the public have been able to see so far from you? The first thing that I hope that they're seeing is visibility—me. I go to the neighborhood association meetings in the evening. Now there's occasions when I miss them; last night, I didn't roll out of here until around after 8 p.m. My belief is as public works director, I've got to engage the public. Second thing that I hope that they're seeing is the tone at the top being set by the mayor and his executive leadership team of engagement with the community, accountability to the community, (and) frankly a change in direction by the leadership of the community. The third thing I hope people are seeing is a change of pace. This is kind of a sappy story, but it's true. I walked in the first day, and I noticed a coffee table with magazines on it, and I said, 'What's this?' I picked them all up and walked over to the recycling bin and threw them away. I said, "There's no waiting area because there's no waiting." Jackson, Mississippi, does not have the time money or patience to wait any longer. And then the final thing I hope they're seeing is closing the loop on things so that when a customer calls in to the 311 center, it doesn't die there. What convinced you to come to Jackson? I've given that a lot of thought. Mayor Lumumba's folks reached out to me because I had enjoyed some considerable success in the financial turnaround of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. As I got to know them, I noticed, this was a little bit different. Mayor Lumumba is not like anybody else. This community has a lot to offer, especially culturally. My wife was an actress and director and producer, and the arts here are very strong. It's a nice amenity. But most of all, the biggest reason was prayer. When Mayor Lumumba first started talking to me about coming here, I was like, "No, my wife and I are pretty settled in New Orleans ...," and he'd say, "OK, but would you pray for my community and pray for me as I go to lead this community?" And then he would text me and say, "I'm praying for you; are you praying for me and my community?" I believe I serve my God by serving his people, so then it's a matter of where do I serve? And I believe I was led to Jackson. This interview was edited for length and clarity. Email city reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com. See this story at jfp.ms/miller for links to previous coverage of issues discussed here. For history on the Siemens controversy, visit jfp.ms/water.

    Jackson Free Press / 3 d. 14 h. 55 min. ago more
  • Gone But Not Forgotten in Mt. Olive CemeteryGone But Not Forgotten in Mt. Olive Cemetery

    As a boy growing up in west Jackson, Larry Thurman said he used to go down to Mt. Olive Cemetery on John R. Lynch Street to play around the statue of James (Jim) Hill, a former slave who was elected during Reconstruction as Mississippi's secretary of state from 1874-1878, becoming one of the few African Americans elected statewide in Mississippi. Coming of age during the wave of segregation, Thurman is a proud 1972 graduate of Jim Hill High School, where he now teaches. On Nov. 9, he stood admiring that same statue, which has been newly refurbished, hoping that it offers his students, who also stood in the cemetery laughing and joyful, "renewed pride and respect for an area that once thrived and served African Americans when nobody else would." Amid a national discussion on which monuments of old white men should stay or go, Jackson State University unveiled two refurbished ones that day dedicated to Mississippians who achieved benchmarks they would not even have dared to dream of before the South lost the Civil War. Or since Reconstruction ended, in Hill's case; state voters have not elected another black person to statewide office since a federal compromise ended Reconstruction in 1877. The other refurbished monument is for Ida Revels Redmond, who was an organizer around women's self-improvement and social services for youth, voter-registration drives and solutions to other inequities. She was the daughter of Hiram Revels who was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress for Mississippi in 1870 and 1871. Her son, Sydney Revels Redmond, was an NAACP lawyer. Hidden Heroes About halfway through a hour-long program on Nov. 9 celebrating the statues at nearby Jackson State University, Heather Wilcox, a neighborhood development assistant at JSU's Center for University-Based Development, stepped to the podium at the Amour event space. She got visibly emotional, choking back tears as she thanked her family and loved ones who supported her research and statue-preservation efforts. "It made me emotional because we're in the state of Mississippi," Wilcox told the Jackson Free Press later. "To know that there was servitude and there were slaves and many of them are buried in the cemetery, and that we have these beautiful statues that we want to pay homage to, but they weren't able to be built anywhere else but a cemetery—it makes you emotional, it makes you cry." Historic African American cemeteries are the only place where statues of black people would have been erected in the early to mid-1900s. They were out of the public eye and never visible to the deceased people who had dedicated their lives to swimming upstream against currents of racism and the structural discrimination that made them second-class citizens in the South. Wilcox's research on Mt. Olive Cemetery is documented in a 33-page pamphlet including 1,461 records of individuals buried there likely between 1909 and 1943. The locations of the 268 identifiable burial sites are also online at jsums.edu/cubd. The men buried there had a range of jobs from blacksmiths and brick masons to physicians and even umbrella repairers. Many of the men and women lived in the Washington Addition neighborhood south of the cemetery and adjacent now to Jim Hill High School. Nearly a quarter of those buried in Mt. Olive were children under age 5. Approximately 77 percent of the African American women whose jobs are known were domestic laborers. The Whole Story Virginia Ford, who is buried in Mt. Olive, was a midwife and later became a school teacher at Smith Robertson School, Jackson's first public school for African Americans. Ford's mother, Mary Green Scott, was born into slavery, and the homes they lived in, respectively, are the cornerstone of a restoration project. Scott, as well as Ford's husband, are also buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery. Wilcox hopes that their legacy among others in the cemetery will not be forgotten. "Today, I feel like we really told their stories, and we helped carry on their legacy," she said, "and we're really excited about that." Wilcox's research came to fruition through funds from the City of Jackson, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Humanities Council. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Humanities Council, said Mt. Olive was selected as an "ideal bicentennial project" for their grant program because it uplifts the story of the west Jackson African American community, especially given the national conversation surrounding Confederate monuments. "Monuments aren't the same as history," Rockoff said. "They are a version of history. So to call attention to things that present a fuller picture is just wonderful." Email city reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 3 d. 15 h. 2 min. ago more
  • JPS Commission Gets to WorkJPS Commission Gets to Work

    More than 50 Jacksonians filled the Mississippi Museum of Art lobby on Nov. 8, eager to hear what the newly formed "Better Together" commission would do for Jackson Public Schools. The coalition of stakeholders represents the curve ball Gov. Phil Bryant pitched instead of opting for the state education department to take over Mississippi's second-largest school district. Unlike most government meetings, however, after the "Better Together" commission members each said their names and what they do to kick off the gathering, they had every person attending the meeting introduce themselves, too. Before the commission got far in its business, Claiborne Barksdale, the former CEO of the Barksdale Reading Institute, suggested adding structure to the large coalition. In what felt premeditated, Barksdale nominated Charles McClelland, who also serves on the Mississippi Board of Education, and Ivye Allen, the president of the Foundation for the Mid South, as co-chairs of the commission. The rest of the commission members voted to approve them. The commission plans to split into two "action tables" to complete their work. One will address the business side of the mission, issuing a request-for-proposal to conduct an independent gap analysis study of JPS. The other group will address the community-engagement piece through surveys and listening sessions to determine and shape the Jackson community's vision for its public schools. "We had a lot of funders reach out to all of our offices about wanting to help. ... This will help leverage exactly where the funding needs to go—what we find in the outside evaluation and the community engagement pieces," Laurie Smith, the governor's adviser on education and workforce development policy, said. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the four entities on the memorandum of understanding that formed the commission, is funding the coalition's work as well as the contract for the group that conducts the study. Additionally, Yumeka Rushing, a Jackson-based program officer at the foundation, said her group is considering providing mini-grants to neighborhood groups to expand conversations communities are already having about education. For now, the commission will meet weekly to get the request-for-proposal out soon to find a company and start the study. "The RFP group is really going to need to dig in (because) that needs to go out as soon as possible," Smith said. Commission members did not sign up for specific "action tables" on Wednesday, but Smith said they can choose through email before the next meeting. Dr. Freddrick Murray, interim superintendent of JPS, gave the commission an overview of the district at the meeting. More than half the schools in the district received an "F" grade from the state this year, and the district received its second "F" in a row. However, the district's academic challenges are coupled with socioeconomic ones. Ninety-nine percent of students in the district are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and more than 4,000 students are homeless. Upwards of 3,000 students live in "shared residences," meaning kids living with parents that do not have a home or apartment and are currently living with someone else. Murray said more than half of the district's teachers are in their first three years of teaching. "It was very evident that we needed to improve our teacher corps," he said. Murray says several teachers in exit interviews said they did not feel equipped to support their students, which fueled Murray's curriculum department move. JPS is in the midst of completing a corrective action plan, which was supposed to address what MDE found in the limited audit of the district at the start of this year. The district must submit another CAP to MDE by Jan. 16, 2018, after the state board voted to put the district back on probation this fall. In February, the new CAP will go to the state board for approval and then must be complete by July 31, 2018. Robyn Rosenthal, communications manager with the Kellogg Foundation, emphasized that while similar work has been done in Michigan, Jackson is different. She said surveys and canvassing are good starts to getting public input. "The most successful work and the most successful energy and change have really happened when the community has stopped and come together to identify their values and their vision, and everyone has had the opportunity to weigh in on that," she told the commission on Nov. 8. The commission meets again Thursday, Nov. 16, location to be announced.

    Jackson Free Press / 3 d. 15 h. 9 min. ago more
  • Fire at Jackson BBQ restaurant intentionally set - Mississippi News NowFire at Jackson BBQ restaurant intentionally set - Mississippi News Now

    Fire at Jackson BBQ restaurant intentionally setMississippi News NowGator's BBQ on Terry Road caught fire around 2:45 a.m. Firefighters used hose lines to bring the fire under control. The owner, Wallace Owens, says he thinks the fire was arson. He said the building had a lot of roof damage but thankfully nobody was ...and more »

    Google News / 3 d. 17 h. 34 min. ago more
  • Sara GatlinSara Gatlin

    Photographer Sara Gatlin's fascination with being behind a camera began with her in front of one. Her father, Cliff Gatlin, was an amateur photographer and would often take pictures of Sara and her sister, Nicki Gatlin, when they were kids. Before long, Sara became interested in taking photos for herself. "I used to play with his cameras, and he got me just the bottom-of-the-line point-and-shoot when I was younger," the Clinton native says. "Every Christmas, it just kind of morphed into a better camera until I got (a digital single-lens reflex camera). I started doing fine-art stuff. I just posted it on Facebook, so it wasn't anything." That ended up being her first step toward a career in professional photography. After graduating from Madison Central High School in 2010, Gatlin attended Holmes Community College. While there, a classmate asked her to take headshots, and after that, more and more requests poured into her Facebook. She created a business page for her photography just to keep her personal account separate. Sara Gatlin Photo has been growing ever since. After two years at Holmes, Gatlin says that she took a year off to consider her major before moving to a four-year university. "By the time I got to college, my business was thriving, especially after my years at home," she says. "I just didn't feel like I could pay money to have someone teach me what I had already learned. I decided to take graphic design because it kind of goes hand-in-hand, as far as being a creative." She graduated with a bachelor's degree in graphic design from Mississippi College in May 2016, which she began putting to work over the past three months as a graphic designer for Fresh Ink. "It's been the best job," she says. "Everyone there is so nice and fun, and we like to have fun, so it's great. I work there part-time and do my photography part-time." Gatlin, 25, says that when she first began her business at 18, it was a learning process—one that involved lots of Google searches. She would research lenses, portraiture techniques and other topics, developing skills in multiple areas. Today, she focuses mainly on wedding and lifestyle photography, and senior portraits. She says that the latter is her favorite because she enjoys interacting with the clients. When not working, Gatlin says she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Zander Williamson, who is the manager of The Apothecary, entertaining friends at their home in Fondren, kayaking and playing with the rescue dogs that her mother cares for in Madison.

    Jackson Free Press / 3 d. 18 h. 41 min. ago more
  • Smith Park restoration is underway - Mississippi News NowSmith Park restoration is underway - Mississippi News Now

    Smith Park restoration is underwayMississippi News NowThe landscape is changing in downtown Jackson. A long-neglected park in the heart of the city is getting a facelift. Smith Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sits right behind the Mississippi Governor's Mansion. It is also a ...

    Google News / 4 d. 2 h. 23 min. ago
  • PJ's Coffee Franchising Opportunities are Brewing in MississippiPJ's Coffee Franchising Opportunities are Brewing in Mississippi

    JACKSON, Miss: PJ's Coffee of New Orleans, a New Orleans-based coffeehouse that demonstrates a welcoming "southern hospitality" style coffee-house experience, the freshest products, and better beans with superior roasting techniques, is looking to bring up to 30 locations into Mississippi over the next two to three years. Targeting the local cities of Jackson, Oxford and Columbus, PJ's Coffee aims to bring the quality flavor and feel of New Orleans coffee to these markets and the surrounding areas with various franchising opportunities available.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 8 h. 10 min. ago more
  • Dave's Triple B, Northpark Renovations and Results PhysiotherapyDave's Triple B, Northpark Renovations and Results Physiotherapy

    David Raines, a Madison resident and professional chef with more than 15 years of restaurant experience, opened The Flora Butcher (4845 Main St., Flora) on Aug. 1, 2016. Now, Raines is looking to open a new business called Dave's Triple B. "Triple B" stands for "The Butcher, the Baker, the Barbecue maker," Raines told the Jackson Free Press, and the business will be located inside the former Chimneyville Smokehouse (970 High St.) in Jackson, which closed in November 2017. Raines said he plans to open Dave's Triple B in January 2018. Raines said The Flora Butcher is dedicated to providing locally sourced meat, including a special type of beef called Wagyu that he sources from Raines Farm in Monroe, La., which his father, David Raines Sr., has operated for 15 years. He plans to use Wagyu and other meat from his shop for Dave's Triple B. "This is going to be a lunch-only, fast-casual restaurant with a focus on quality ingredients from my father's farm and locally sourced produce, pigs, lambs, goats and chickens from Mississippi farms," Raines told the Jackson Free Press. "There are two big Southern Pride smokers in the building that we'll be using to make barbecue Wagyu ribs and briskets, pulled pork and plenty more, and I'll also be making all my own bread using techniques I picked up in New York." Raines said the menu will also include chicken-fried steak, hot and cold sandwiches, sausages, cured meats, pastries, salads, blue-plate specials and more. "We've been making at least 60 to 80 blue plates a day at The Flora Butcher lately, and part of why I'm expanding is because we're starting to not have enough room anymore," he said. "I'm sure plenty of people who make their way out here will appreciate us being closer to Jackson, as well." Raines began his culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, where he received an associate's degree in culinary arts in 2006. He then went on to an Italian slow-food culinary school called ItalCook and took an international bread-making course at the French Culinary Institute, now called the International Culinary Institute, in New York City in 2008. Raines also took an introductory sommelier course with the Guild of Master Sommeliers in New Orleans in 2010, as well as a butchery and advanced sausage-making course with San Francisco-based 4505 Meats. Raines has worked at 17 different restaurants over the course of his career, including a stint as the chef de cuisine at R'evolution in New Orleans and at Seafood R'evolution in Ridgeland. For more information, call The Flora Butcher at 601-509-2498 or find The Flora Butcher's Facebook page. Northpark Mall Undergoing Renovations Northpark Mall (1200 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland) announced on Nov. 8 that it will undergo large-scale renovations beginning in early 2018. Renovations to the two-story, 958,000-square-foot mall will include changes to the entrances, dining area, children's play area, restrooms, interior and exterior landscaping, furniture, fixtures, lighting and common areas. "This is going to be a complete upgrade to bring Northpark up to 21st-century design standards," Christy Campbell, marketing coordinator for Northpark Mall, told the Jackson Free Press. "The mall hasn't been updated since 1998, and after this renovation is finished, visitors will be able to look forward to a modern, upscale Northpark. We want people to be able to enjoy Northpark as a hub for community gathering." Northpark will remain open throughout the redevelopment, and the renovations are slated to be finished by November 2018. For more information, visit http://www.northparkmall.com/ or find Northpark Mall on Facebook. Results Physiotherapy Holds Ribbon Cutting at The District Results Physiotherapy, a national physical-therapy organization, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its clinic in The District at Eastover (120 District Blvd. E., Suite D-102) on Tuesday, Nov. 7, following its initial opening on May 15, 2017. Australia native Gary Cunningham founded Results Physiotherapy in 1996 alongside a group of partners that included Olympic swimmer Tracy Caulkins. The clinic offers outpatient treatment for sports-related injuries; post-surgical treatment; headaches and migraines; lower back pain; nerve conditions; neck, shoulder, hip, back and foot pain; knee sprains, tendonitis, arthritis, vertigo and more. "Here at Results, we take a more hands-on approach than what you'd usually see at other physiotherapy clinics," Dr. Patsy Triplett, the clinic director, told the Jackson Free Press. "Rather than just focusing on exercises, we do joint-mobilization treatments, myofascial release and other hands-on procedures. Our big thing is not just putting a Band-Aid over a problem. Our therapists are trained to find and diagnose exactly where a patient's problem is coming from so we know where to go from there." Triplett is currently the only physician at the Jackson clinic, but she told the Jackson Free Press that the clinic will begin recruiting more physical therapists beginning in January 2018. She is a Madison resident who received a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., in 2009, a bachelor's degree in biology from Jackson State University in 2011 and a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2015. Results Physiotherapy is open Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 769-204-8222 or visit resultspt.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 11 h. 9 min. ago more
  • Meeya ThomasMeeya Thomas

    Meeya Thomas stands 5 feet and 2 inches tall—about three inches short of the national average for women. She says that because of her height, she loves to wear heels, and that is where her inspiration for her shoe designs comes from. Thomas, a Jackson native, graduated from Callaway High School in 2004 and attended Hinds Community College in 2006. In 2007, she moved to Miami to pursue a modeling career and to attend the Miami International University of Art & Design. While there, she also began creating fashion designs, initially for eyewear. After returning home in November 2009, she moved to New York in 2011 to pursue a career as a designer. In 2013, she created her first shoe line, and about a year ago, she moved back to Jackson, bringing her quest for fun yet affordable shoe fashion with her. Thomas spoke to the Jackson Free Press about her modeling career and her aspirations as a shoe designer. What was your modeling experience like in Miami compared to Jackson? It was a different experience, but I was surprised that (I got to do) work like (commercial work) because, like, I have tattoos all over. They can be all hidden because they're all cute, like underneath my arms and different things like that, but ... being short and having tattoos, and I wore a high-top fade, I didn't think my look would do as well as it did. But being in Miami, I guess that's the difference between being like in New York where they ... have a (5-feet-7-inches)-112-pounds-type thing. In Miami, they're really versatile. They want diversity. I'm not really into commercial modeling. I take good pictures, that what's people say, but I'm not really a poser. ... I like for people to see me right in front of their face. ... I'm more of a runway model, more so than commercials, and in Miami, I got to do both of them, and it was a great experience. What were some of your negative experiences? I didn't have any negative experiences. There were gigs that I didn't book that I may have necessarily wanted to book, but it was all a learning experience for me, honestly, because I didn't know that I was into it like I was until then. ... If you would book one gig, you would book another. Even when you were at these gigs, sometimes they'd say, "Hey, you didn't book this one, but there may be another gig that we have for you." I just took that positivity, and honestly, that's what made me push forward with that. When did you return to Jackson? I recently returned to Jackson, about a year ago, but before I came back here, I was in New York for two-and-a half years. (When I was in) Miami, I got lonely. I'm a homebody, and I love being around, like, my sister and my brother. I was in Miami by myself for a while, and then my sister came, and she moved to Miami, as well, maybe like six months later, and then I was fine. Then after (about a year), I was like, "OK, I'm bored now," I came back home for about (a year). I told my mom (after a while), "Well, I'm moving to New York. I may have a gig. I may have booked a gig." She was like, "What do you mean? You have no money. You can't just move to New York." Our mom used to be a model, so she knew (what it was like and didn't want it to be our career path). My mom's like ... 5-foot-8(-inches), our dad's short, so me and my sister got the shorter end, literally, of the stick, and my brothers are really tall, our uncles are really tall. ... Us short girls, me and my sister, that actually modeled, and my sister, she's a (ballet) dancer, we would have wanted that height. I decided to take that and push forward with my designing again. After a while, people would still ask me, "Hey, are you not doing this anymore? Hey, are you making this anymore?" ... And I was like, "OK, maybe I should start back doing this." Something always pushes me back to designing some kind of way. So I decided to move to New York. When I was in New York, I hooked up with some people and was able to get into Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The first year that I went, I wore all of my own designs that I had on, and after maybe about that third day, I went to a show, and then a Chinese magazine saw me, and they were like, "Who created your outfit?" I told them, "Myself." They invited me to Beijing Fashion Week to actually do one of the side shows (but I didn't go. I went back to the Mercedes-Benz show). I stayed in New York for a while, and then, once again, I got lonely. I wanted to come home. My sister actually even moved up there, as well, and she stayed. I'm back home, but she actually stayed and is doing hair. But I was like, "I want to go home. I miss my friends. I miss my family." That's what actually made me come back home, but once again, I was like, "OK, I'm not doing what I want to be doing." That recently had me get to this point, which (was) the fashion show (on Nov. 5) that I'm sure you've heard about. That's a new collection that I've come up with since I've been home. Like I said, it just made me want to get back into design. Tell me about how you got into designing. We have a (single-parent) family, and our dad lives in (Miami). We just weren't fortunate enough to be able to have a lot of stuff or the best of things, and different things like that. I knew my mother used to make her own clothes, and she (would) tell us how she always used to make her dolls' clothes and different things like that, and I started just mixing and mingling with things. So why eyewear design? I love shades. I really do, and the crazy thing is, I love shades, but I will not wear them for a long time because they give me a headache, but I just like the fashion portion of them. I knew that it wasn't a big thing that people were doing, and I'm really good with, like, bedazzling things, as my mother said. She used to say, "You're not designing; you're just bedazzling." So I was like, "Well, this bedazzling will make something (that's) still nice." My mom calls me "The Embellishing Queen." How did you design your eyewear? All different ways. Sometimes, I would take different frames from other shades, and like, I may make two of the same shades with different colors, and I may pop the frames out, change the frames, and I may put stones on them, I may put spikes on them, I may put ribbon on them, anything on them. Why did you go from eyewear to shoe design? Now, as much as I like eyewear, I love shoes. Any time somebody comes to my house, they say, "OK, so where is the store?" I probably own about 200 pairs of shoes. They're in my room, so my whole room is just surrounded, all of my walls are just surrounded with shoes. I think that's also how I get my inspiration when I'm designing shoes because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and I look over to this shoe, and I look at that shoe, and then it may put something else into my head. That's pretty much how I got into shoes—because I just have a lot of shoes. What kind of shoes do you design? Right now, honestly, I would say women's shoes, and that's really heels, like 6 inches or taller if I can find it. I do honestly do all (heights), but I love really tall heels because once again, I'm really short. So I don't even really own regular tennis shoes, I have one or two pairs, but even my tennis shoes are like tennis-shoe wedges. I just love to be tall. As far as design and creative-wise, I compare myself to, like, Alexander McQueen, Versace, (Patricia Field) styles. A bunch of everything goes onto my shoes. I created a cupcake line this past spring (and) summer, with like fun cupcakes and hearts and unicorns, and then the one I'm doing now is "Welcome to the Jungle," which is like, furs and leathers and browns, and different things like that. And then I did like a sweetheart line with roses. I try to pick a theme every spring (and) summer, and then I pick another theme every fall (and) winter. Walk me through the process in how you actually design shoes. Sometimes, when I do the shoes, I create the heels, as well, myself. I may take a heel off another one. My main goal, one day, is to manufacture my shoes. Right now, I just custom-make them, so when I make a pair, it's kind of like, "If you can't fit this size, sorry. You just have to wait until the next one." Sometimes, I create the heels, or I put heels on, and then sometimes, I may add a fabric, I may add embroidery, I may add sequins. It just depends (on) what I'm feeling. My thought process of them is it may take a month, two months, a week—it really depends. That's why I don't really like to be, like, on anyone else's time when I create my shoes. My mom (says) all the time, "You could be working for somebody else. You could be working for Michael Kors." She'll see my shoes one season, and the next season, she'll see something similar to it like in Vogue magazine or something like that, and she's always like, "That's what I told you." It's like my brain is always a season ahead. It's all a creative process to me, so I don't like to be rushed. That's why I don't tell people a time or how long it'll take me unless I'm ready to actually put out a whole line. What's the craziest thing you designed? What's the craziest? I made some 9-inch heels with like a 9-inch platform on it, and the whole entire shoe ... was filled with stones. I completely hand-sewed all the stones. It took me about three months just to do that one pair of shoes. It was, like, amazing that other people were mimicking it. I wasn't even mad at it because it was really dope. I didn't make anymore after that, but it was a really dope concept. So why did you choose lupus as a cause to focus on during your fashion show on Nov. 5? My mom (is a breast-cancer survivor), and I know you see breast cancer a lot. You know, you see pink a lot, you see it on TV a lot, you see people wear it a lot, you see it in stores a lot. A cousin that I grew up with ... she has lupus, and we're about the same age. For a while, ... I just kept seeing (social-media posts about) how she was always in the hospital, and I know she has a daughter, and I just kept seeing about how she's always in the hospital, and how she's always thanking God. 
 She's always positive about it. I just didn't know how somebody could be so positive about being sick all the time and being in the hospital. My boyfriend, his mother has lupus, so I would hear about (what she goes through), like she had an outbreak not too long ago, and I was like, "You don't hear about it a lot." That was my thing—you don't hear people talk about it a lot. Some people don't even know what it does, what it is, what it does to your body, how it affects your immune system and different things like that. I just decided that's what I'm going to dedicate this to. I'm going to give back. I give back to breast-cancer (awareness organizations) all the time because of my mom, but I thought that this was something ... for me to do. What is in the future for your business? I hope somebody picks me up and gives me some money. Now, I see why, I'm not going to say it's easier to make clothes because it's not easy, but it's easier to go and get clothes processed, and cheaper—a whole lot cheaper—to get clothes than shoes because shoes are just really, really expensive. To get one prototype for one shoe, and I'm talking about just the left side, it's like maybe $250. Then, you have to get another prototype for the right, and then, that's just a size six, so you have to do the same process for the six, the seven, the eight, the nine, so you may be spending, like, $3,000 just for one design. My goal is definitely to be able to either maybe shop some ideas to, like, Michael Kors and people like that, and to be able to raise money and be able to mass-produce my line because another important thing (to note) is my shoes are definitely worth $600, $700, $800, $900 and up when you think of all the stuff that I put on them, and that's what I'm saying, how extravagant the shoes are. (Growing up), I wasn't unfortunate; I was a little bit less fortunate, but my mom still made sure that we (had) anything that we needed. It's so important for me to create a dope shoe that a celebrity could buy, but that my cousin could buy at the same time. That's my ultimate goal is to be able to save enough money to be able to mass-produce shoes at still an affordable rate. I'd rather see 500 regular people take pictures and wear my shoes and can afford my shoes than five celebrities that are probably going to wear it one time, and you'll never see it again. ... I don't want to sell my shoes for $900. I don't buy ... Christian Louboutin (shoes). I don't buy him because first of all his shoes are uncomfortable, and you pay $10,000 for them. That's total opposite of what I want. For more information on the brand Meeya Thomas, visit meeyathomas.com or find the business on Facebook and Instagram.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 11 h. 39 min. ago more
  • Tax Sales Bring $414,265 into Jackson, JPS and Hinds County CoffersTax Sales Bring $414,265 into Jackson, JPS and Hinds County Coffers

    The City of Jackson along with Jackson Public Schools and the other school districts and cities in Hinds County will receive an influx of funds after Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann recovered $414,265 from sales of tax-forfeited properties in the city and county since July 1, 2017. When people do not pay taxes on their property, those parcels forfeit to the state. Hosemann said the number of parcels of state-owned property in the city has declined due to auctions since he took office. Now about 2,000 state-owned properties are for sale in the Jackson and around 150 in the county, he said. "When they hired me to be secretary of state, that number (of parcels in the city) was over 3,000, approaching 4,000," Hosemann said Monday at a press conference on the grounds of one parcel that sold off of Highway 80. "We have reduced it down to 2,000 parcels left, and I think that's indicative of a lot of work our staff did." Jackson Public Schools will receive around $157,000 of the $414,265, Hosemann said. Property taxes, called ad-valorem taxes, directly affect local funding of public schools. State tax sales are held online in auctions, and Hosemann said Mississippi is only one of a few states to make that service available. Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said the tax sales will help increase and encourage local economic development in Jackson. "There's no reason that Highway 80 can't look like Lakeland Drive, so this is about developing all of Jackson," he said at the press conference. Infrastructure is a significant hurdle to cross for city officials when pushing economic development. Lumumba said he plans to address the city's infrastructure problems by developing a strategy across the city and having conversations with the 1 Percent Sales Tax Commission, set up to oversee how Jackson spends the extra sales tax that citizens voted in January 2014 to set aside for infrastructure needs. "These are the conversations we are having with the 1 Percent Commission consistently every month, understanding that we have a $2.5 billion infrastructure problem, but we only receive about $13 million annually and a 1 percent sales tax," Lumumba told reporters Monday. "So it's looking at how we leverage those funds to do more work up front and in that way turning our crumbling infrastructure into an economic frontier." The mayor said he is thankful for the increase in funding from tax sales for Jackson Public Schools, which he said are in dire need of more resources. "As we look across the spectrum, not only locally but nationally, where you see increased investment in education, you see better output," Lumumba said. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 11 h. 40 min. ago more
  • Panola County Jail Arrest RecordPanola County Jail Arrest Record

    This is a list taken from the log at the Panola County Jail. A name listed does not indicate that a person is guilty of the crime with which they are charged, only that the person has been taken to and processed at the facility.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 12 h. 47 min. ago
  • 15-year-old who shot teen girl in the head to be tried as adult15-year-old who shot teen girl in the head to be tried as adult

    WANTED: Sheroderick Elmore, Jr.-15 for aggravated assault stemming from the shooting of Alexandria Love-14 on Saturday night on William McKinley Cir. Love is still listed as very critical.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 2 h. 19 min. ago
  • Second phase of Smith Park renovation underwaySecond phase of Smith Park renovation underway

    Concrete water courses with "boulders" are being removed and earthen berms will be leveled before the greensward is resodded, according to a release from Downtown Jackson Partners.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 7 h. 1 min. ago
  • Ski jumping champion looks toward 2018 OlympicsSki jumping champion looks toward 2018 Olympics

    Nina Lussi has been training and competing around the world and now has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

    WAPT / 5 d. 11 h. 29 min. ago
  • Fellow Inmate Convicted for Murder of Choctaw Activist in Neshoba JailFellow Inmate Convicted for Murder of Choctaw Activist in Neshoba Jail

    PHILADELPHIA, Miss.—On Thursday, more than two years after activist Rexdale Henry of the Choctaw tribe of Native Americans turned up dead in a Neshoba County Jail cell, a jury found Justyn Schlegel, a fellow inmate, guilty of murder. Although the trial ended before the Veterans Day recess, both the Henry and Schlegel families, as well as those close to the trial, remain skeptical about how things unfolded and if justice was truly served. "Neither the family of the accused, Justyn Schlegel, nor the family of Rexdale Henry believe Justin did this," Janis McDonald, co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University's College of Law, said in a statement. "During the opening day of the trial, members of the two families present were friendlier towards one another than what you would normally see in a criminal trial." Henry was pulled over for a minor traffic offense and later jailed for fines totaling $2,677—the Jackson Free Press reported in 2015. The JFP also reported that a clerk at the Neshoba County Justice Court said Henry might have paid some of the fines or the amount could have risen because of late fees and other charges. Henry died with several fractures and a ruptured spleen—all injuries McDonald says were ignored in the days leading up to Henry's death. "There were a lot of people in that jail who had access to him the day before, and lots of law enforcement were angry with him because he kept insisting on getting medical help," McDonald told the Jackson Free Press on Nov. 8. "He had blood in his urine well before (Schlegel) ever saw this guy; he was begging for his medicine." McDonald said she believes Schlegel is likely being blamed because he was the last one seen on video in the cell with Henry. She says the family deserves other answers as to why Henry had not gotten medical attention before he died. "For the family, it's very hard to sit there and listen to this, but it's also very hard when they really think that not all the evidence is there, and it doesn't make sense," McDonald said. "And they deserve the truth, and that's what they're trying to insist upon, and they're not convinced yet that this is what really happened." The family was not available for comment for this story. "He had a ruptured spleen, 13 ribs broken, I think it's 17 fractures. So he clearly got either one or multiple beatings—the question is when and by whom?" McDonald added. McDonald said jurors and other onlookers in the courtroom watched video of jail staff punching or pushing Henry "forcefully enough to knock him down onto the cement floor of his cell" on three separate occasions. The family had to do an independent autopsy to reveal the cause of death, as they could not initially get the results from the state's chief medical examiner in Jackson. The family got the autopsy results in late spring of 2017 when a community activist advocating on behalf of the Henry family obtained a copy from the new county coroner, a statement shows. The Jackson Free Press has not independently reviewed the autopsy. It took over two weeks after Henry's death for Schlegel to be arrested for murder. McDonald's CCJI describes Schlegel as "an inmate who shared a brief time in the same cell with Henry." Henry's survivors include his wife, Lonie Robinson Henry; mother, Winnie Willis; daughter, Patricia Mitch; sons, Kinsey Henry, Sr. and Anselm Henry; brother, Ronnie Henry Sr. and 12 grandchildren. His father, Norman Willis, preceded him in death. The victim died only one day after Sandra Bland was found hanging in Texas' Waller County Jail, raising suspicions about the role of police in her death. In November 2015, a black man, Michael McDougle, was found dead in his cell in the Neshoba County Detention Center—a case that was later settled for a sealed amount. Infamously, Neshoba County is also where Ku Klan Klansmen, including law enforcement, murdered civil-rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner on the first day of Freedom Summer of 1964 after visiting the site of the recently burned Mt. Zion Methodist Church, east of Philadelphia. After Deputy Cecil Price stopped them for a traffic violation when they left the church and took them to the jail, then in a different location in Philadelphia. After releasing them that night, a lynch mob followed the three men out of town, pulled them over and then took them to a dirt road and shot each of them, later burying them under an earthen dam. McDonald said that this incident also echoes what a Department of Justice report revealed about Ferguson, Mo., and the percentage of revenue raised by revolving doors in the jail, racial profiling, traffic fines and minor offenses that put and keep suspects in jail as they incur fines. Email city reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 11 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Grace Notes: Bill Cassidy steps up as other Senate Republicans struggle with Roy Moore candidacyGrace Notes: Bill Cassidy steps up as other Senate Republicans struggle with Roy Moore candidacy

    In this Jan. 17, 2014 file photo, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court addresses a Pro-Life Mississippi and a Pastors for Life luncheon in Jackson, Miss. Alabama began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, despite an 11th-hour attempt from Moore - an outspoken opponent - to block the weddings.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 11 h. 38 min. ago
  • 10 Local Stories of the Week10 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: Soldiers and military personnel from almost every U.S. conflict in the last 70 years packed into a small auditorium in the G.V. Sonny Montgomery Medical Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, to commemorate Veterans Day, which was on Saturday this year.David Watkins, a Jackson developer, turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday, Nov. 8, after he was indicted on two counts for embezzling more than $500,000 in bonds.Mississippi Board of Education Chairwoman Rosemary Aultman cleared the air on Mississippi Department of Education's stance on the future of Jackson Pubic Schools on Thursday.Scott Crawford, a wheelchair user due to multiple sclerosis, showed up at the Jackson Police Training Academy near Jackson State University on Monday with 80 high-visibility vests to help keep other people safe.The Jackson City Council restored a quorum to the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees on Wednesday, unanimously confirming four new members who are charged with leading the district through a difficult stage in its history.Dr. Alferdteen Harrison, a retired Jackson State University professor and chairwoman of Scott Ford Houses Inc., is leading an effort to restore the houses as timepieces demonstrating African American life between slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.Scott Crawford, a disability advocate in Jackson, said it is a civil-rights violation for taxis to not provide equal services.State Superintendent Carey Wright requested more than double the current early-education state funding to expand Mississippi’s pre-K programs.The nine U.S. Supreme Court justices could decide the fate of the case against the Mississippi state flag this month when they meet for conference on Nov. 21.In efforts to make operations at City Hall more transparent, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba hosted an open house and tour of his office and the top floors of City Hall on Nov. 3. Remember: Check the JFP Events planner for everything to do in the Jackson metro area. You can also add your own events (or send them to events@jacksonfreepress.com)! See JFPEvents.com

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 18 h. 41 min. ago more
  • Continue reading NAACP Set to Change Tax Status to Engage Politically a 'Continue reading NAACP Set to Change Tax Status to Engage Politically a '

    After being eclipsed in recent years by Color of Change, Black Lives Matter and other younger, more tech savvy and politically-pointed groups, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization will change its tax status. During a call with reporters, NAACP officials announced that the civil rights group will transition from a 501 to a 501 designation.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 20 h. 42 min. ago more
  • Young cross-country skiers, Olympians go head-to-head in roller ski competitionYoung cross-country skiers, Olympians go head-to-head in roller ski competition

    Top ranked cross-country skiers got the chance to race alongside Olympians

    WAPT / 11 d. 13 h. 22 min. ago
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    Ski jumping and Nordic Combined national champions discuss the sport and getting ready of the 2018 Olympics.

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  • Biracial boy allegedly hanged by group of teens gets big birthday surpriseBiracial boy allegedly hanged by group of teens gets big birthday surprise

    Last month, Quincy's family said a group of teenagers nearly hanged him in what they're calling a racially motivated crime.

    WAPT / 38 d. 5 h. 48 min. ago