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    Google News / 17.01.2018 11:32
  • Hot pursuit! Watch Aussie police chase wallaby down highwayHot pursuit! Watch Aussie police chase wallaby down highway

    Police in Australia went on quite the unusual high-speed chase, following a swamp wallaby across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    WAPT / 20 min. ago
  • Civil rights veteran Lewis being honored in MississippiCivil rights veteran Lewis being honored in Mississippi

    We collect zip code so that we may deliver news, weather, special offers and other content related to your specific geographic area. We have sent a confirmation email to {* data_emailAddress *}.

    Jackson News / 36 min. ago
  • White House directs Bannon to avoid answering Hill queries in Russia probeWhite House directs Bannon to avoid answering Hill queries in Russia probe

    President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon faced angry lawmakers from both parties during a contentious interview that stretched more than 10 hours on Tuesday,

    WAPT / 1 h. 24 min. ago
  • Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gelWalmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

    Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel.

    WAPT / 2 h. 2 min. ago
  • Alcorn cuts the cord with 3 offensive coachesAlcorn cuts the cord with 3 offensive coaches

    Fred Kaiss, Brian Hayes and Shannon Harris are no longer with the program.

    WAPT / 3 h. 1 min. ago
  • New Hampshire man with diabetes exposed to HIV at hospital, family saysNew Hampshire man with diabetes exposed to HIV at hospital, family says

    A New Hampshire family is looking for answers after they said their relative was possibly exposed to HIV at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

    WAPT / 3 h. 3 min. ago
  • Meteor flashes across Michigan sky​, causes 2.0 magnitude earthquakeMeteor flashes across Michigan sky​, causes 2.0 magnitude earthquake

    Michigan residents were perplexed Tuesday after a large flash of light lit up the sky in the southeastern portion of the state during the evening.

    WAPT / 3 h. 31 min. ago
  • I-55 Back UpI-55 Back Up

    I-55 Back Up

    WAPT / 3 h. 39 min. ago
  • Icy conditions close roadwayIcy conditions close roadway

    16 WAPT Chief Meteorologist David Hartman has the forecast for Jackson and Central Mississippi.

    WAPT / 3 h. 41 min. ago
  • Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski dead of apparent suicide, police sayWashington State QB Tyler Hilinski dead of apparent suicide, police say

    Authorities say Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski has died after a suspected suicide.

    WAPT / 3 h. 42 min. ago
  • Dangerous Driving ConditionsDangerous Driving Conditions

    16 WAPT Chief Meteorologist David Hartman has the forecast for Jackson and Central Mississippi.

    WAPT / 3 h. 43 min. ago
  • Tuesday Evening WeatherTuesday Evening Weather

    16 WAPT Chief Meteorologist David Hartman has the forecast for Jackson and Central Mississippi.

    WAPT / 3 h. 44 min. ago
  • Wake Up WeatherWake Up Weather

    16 WAPT Chief Meteorologist David Hartman has the forecast for Jackson and Central Mississippi.

    WAPT / 3 h. 44 min. ago
  • US cuts funding for Palestinians following Trump's Twitter threatUS cuts funding for Palestinians following Trump's Twitter threat

    The US has announced that it will hold back more than half of the funding it provides for a UN agency that supports Palestinians

    WAPT / 4 h. 36 min. ago
  • Hinds County Deputies intercept contraband, one inmate charged with escapeHinds County Deputies intercept contraband, one inmate charged with escape

    Paige received cuts to his hand as he got tangled in the razor wire surrounding the fence.

    WLBT / 4 h. 38 min. ago
  • YouTube assigning workers to review videos to avoid another Logan Paul-type disasterYouTube assigning workers to review videos to avoid another Logan Paul-type disaster

    In the wake of the Logan Paul controversy, YouTube is trying to reassure advertisers by pledging to "manually review" a significant chunk of the videos on its website.

    WAPT / 5 h. 7 min. ago
  • Mississippi Court of Appeals upholds capital murder conviction and life sentence for Jackson manMississippi Court of Appeals upholds capital murder conviction and life sentence for Jackson man

    Shepard argued the evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction and that he had ineffective counsel.

    WLBT / 5 h. 27 min. ago
  • Mississippi DPS Offices ClosedMississippi DPS Offices Closed

    Jackson, MS (WJTV)  – All DPS offices, including Headquarters for Highway Patrol Troops C, D, E, F, G, H, and M will be closed all day Wednesday, January 17. All DPS offices in Highway Patrol Troops J and K will delay opening until 10:00 a.m. according to Department of Public Safety Communication Director Warren Strain. For a complete list of the locations that will be closed or delay opening visit: https://www.dps.state.ms.us/driver-services/new-drivers-license/district-one-locations/

    WJTV / 5 h. 27 min. ago more
  • City of Jackson Offices ClosedCity of Jackson Offices Closed

    Jackson, MS (WJTV) – The city of Jackson offices will be closed Wednesday, January 17th due to weather conditions. This according to a news release from Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s office.

    WJTV / 5 h. 36 min. ago
  • City of Laurel Facilities Closed, Sanitation Pick Ups ChangedCity of Laurel Facilities Closed, Sanitation Pick Ups Changed

    Laurel, MS (WJTV) –                                    All (Non-Emergency) City of Laurel Facilities will be closed Wednesday Jan 17th, 2018. The City of Lauren sanitation rout for Wednesday has been moved to Thursday. The regular Monday and Tuesday routes will resume next week.  

    WJTV / 6 h. 18 min. ago
  • Navigating wintry weather conditions on the road - Mississippi News NowNavigating wintry weather conditions on the road - Mississippi News Now

    Navigating wintry weather conditions on the roadMississippi News NowAlthough the snow has stopped falling, the threat of dangerous road conditions is still high. Capitol Towing Manager Cory Bozeman handed down some tips to help drivers prepare for possible hazardous conditions. It starts with what you do to your ...

    Google News / 6 h. 20 min. ago
  • Richland City Offices ClosedRichland City Offices Closed

    Richland, MS (WJTV) – All City of Richland offices will be closed Wednesday January 17th, this includes Richland Municipal Court. Please call 601-420-1550 to reschedule court date.

    WJTV / 6 h. 29 min. ago
  • Navigating wintry weather conditions on the roadNavigating wintry weather conditions on the road

    Even if the roads appear to be clear, the threat of danger isn’t necessarily lower, black ice can create dangerous, slippery conditions for drivers on the road and on bridges.

    WLBT / 6 h. 38 min. ago
  • CONSIDER THIS: Gregg HarperCONSIDER THIS: Gregg Harper

    Announcing he would not pursue a sixth term, Congressman Gregg Harper will call it quits when his fifth term expires early next year.

    WLBT / 6 h. 57 min. ago
  • CONSIDER THIS: Gregg Harper - Mississippi News NowCONSIDER THIS: Gregg Harper - Mississippi News Now

    CONSIDER THIS: Gregg HarperMississippi News NowAt a time when there is much dysfunction and frustration with Washington, Mississippi has been fortunate to have someone represent the state who is professional, intelligent and didn't embarrass us by getting caught up in some D.C. scandal. Announcing ...

    Google News / 6 h. 57 min. ago
  • Jones County Suspends Non-Emergency OperationsJones County Suspends Non-Emergency Operations

      Jones County, MS (WJTV) – From the Jones County Emergency Operations Center: Due to the hazardous road conditions that are expected to persist into tomorrow, the Jones County Board of Supervisors will suspend all non-emergency operations by closing all of its non-emergency facilities around the County, for the safety of County employees and the citizens. Director Tullos of the Jones County Emergency Management Agency encourages everyone to please stay off the road if possible, avoid any unnecessary travel, and as always, in the event of an emergency please dial 911.

    WJTV / 6 h. 59 min. ago more
  • Winter weather impacts motorists throughout metro - Mississippi News NowWinter weather impacts motorists throughout metro - Mississippi News Now

    Winter weather impacts motorists throughout metroMississippi News NowWinter weather impacted motorists in the metro throughout the day as the flakes started falling heavily at mid morning. In Madison, the Parkway flyover was closed first thing after the roadway and bridges began to ice over. Parts of I-55 became a ...

    Google News / 7 h. 13 min. ago
  • Search continues for 26-year-old Mississippi pilot in NevadaSearch continues for 26-year-old Mississippi pilot in Nevada

    An official says a search will continue near a mountain range in northeast Nevada for a twin-engine plane missing since the pilot reported trouble during icy and gusty weather last week.

    WLBT / 7 h. 19 min. ago
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  • Snow and cold cause headaches as more water mains break in JacksonSnow and cold cause headaches as more water mains break in Jackson

    The arrival of snow and icy roads are not the only challenge here in Jackson as an already distressed water system is now facing new ruptured water mains.

    WLBT / 7 h. 21 min. ago
  • Lifted insurance restrictions improve lives of children with autismLifted insurance restrictions improve lives of children with autism

    Officials with the Insurance Department say they are designed to help with issues related to claiming health insurance benefits for screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism.

    WLBT / 8 h. 7 min. ago
  • Winter Weather Leads to Several Accidents in JacksonWinter Weather Leads to Several Accidents in Jackson

    As the winter weather moved through the Jackson metro, it left several accidents in its path. For tow-trucks responded to the accidents, the crashes have seemingly non-stop. Crews are working to treat the roads, but the snow keeps falling. A warning sign along Interstate 55 Tuesday morning was up early in the day. Still, it was not enough to prevent several accidents from happening back to back. “Even here it doesn’t look that bad right now, but as we can see it is still snowing. Then the temperatures are going to drop and then it’s going to freeze more,” MDOT Executive Director, Melinda McGrath said. “We asked everyone to try to stay off of the roads especially north of here, unless you just have to go somewhere. “ The slick roads were no match for drivers as the temperatures plummeted. Wet roads and bridges iced over leaving some drivers with limited control. Officials warn that bridges can be especially dangerous. Bridges lose heat quickly on both sides as cold air surrounds the surface of the bridge as well as underneath. This causes them to ice over a lot faster so keep that in mind while you’re crossing them. Slow down before you even cross it. “At night you can’t see this little ice patches so we ask everyone to be off the roads by dark because you will not be able to see,” McGrath said. “Our crews cannot make the return trip to do another often does because of traffic has stalled, or the traffic has wrecked, and we can’t get in there, so we ask people to if you have to be out Drive slow but if you don’t have to be out stay put.” MDOT is working through an employee shortage because of budget issues. Again drivers are asked to stay inside, but if you do leave the house be extremely careful.  

    WJTV / 9 h. 2 min. ago more
  • Local Expert Warns about Freezing PipesLocal Expert Warns about Freezing Pipes

    As another round of cold weather hits the Jackson area, some homeowners and businesses are double checking their pipes. The last round of extremely cold weather to hit the metro left several Jackson businesses with busted pipes, and led to water-main breaks throughout the city. Martin Jelliffe of AdvantaClean in Jackson stopped by with WJTV 12 studio to go over some of the things you can do to prevent a costly mistake.  

    WJTV / 9 h. 12 min. ago more
  • Bipartisan DACA deal falls through, shutdown looming - Mississippi News NowBipartisan DACA deal falls through, shutdown looming - Mississippi News Now

    Bipartisan DACA deal falls through, shutdown loomingMississippi News NowWASHINGTON (Senate TV/House TV/CNN) – The government is four days away from a spending deadline and facing the increased possibility of a shutdown. MOREAdditional LinksPoll. Republicans cannot fund the government on their own and one of the long talked ...and more »

    Google News / 10 h. 22 min. ago more
  • FIRST ALERT ACTION DAY: Snow tapers tonight; icy roads, harshly cold WednesdayFIRST ALERT ACTION DAY: Snow tapers tonight; icy roads, harshly cold Wednesday

    A Winter Weather Advisory is in place across central Mississippi for the possibility of snow accumulations and icy roads for Tuesday. 

    WLBT / 10 h. 35 min. ago
  • Winter weather impacts motorists throughout metroWinter weather impacts motorists throughout metro

    MDOT officials are asking motorists to remain off the roads as they make several passes through the same roads, spreading salt and DE-icer, to melt the ice.

    WLBT / 11 h. 14 min. ago
  • Winter weather closings and delays for WednesdayWinter weather closings and delays for Wednesday

    We will keep this story up to date with the latest closings and delays during the winter weather.

    WLBT / 11 h. 46 min. ago
  • Congressmen John Lewis, Bennie Thompson to attend Grand Celebration of Mississippi Civil Rights MuseumCongressmen John Lewis, Bennie Thompson to attend Grand Celebration of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

    U.S. Congressmen John Lewis and Bennie Thompson will be in Jackson on February 23-24 for the first annual Grand Celebration and Gala at the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

    WLBT / 11 h. 49 min. ago
  • House plan: Little change in aid to schools in next 2 yearsHouse plan: Little change in aid to schools in next 2 years

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – There would be little change in state aid to Mississippi public school districts in the next two years under a new funding formula being pushed by House Republican leaders. The House Appropriations Committee moved House Bill 957 forward Tuesday on a divided voice vote, setting up for a vote by the full House as soon as Wednesday. Nathan Wells, chief of staff for House Speaker Philip Gunn, says no districts would get less money over the next two years than now. Wells says districts gaining enrollment would get a little more money under a method not yet disclosed. Wells says the increase would be less than $10 million next year. The new formula wouldn’t begin to truly function until 2021, when an estimated $53 million would be needed. ___ This story has been corrected to show the name of the speaker’s chief of staff is Nathan Wells, not Nathan Well. (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    WJTV / 12 h. 23 min. ago more
  • Rates to rise for 2 Mississippi electrical utilitiesRates to rise for 2 Mississippi electrical utilities

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Customers of Mississippi’s two privately-owned electrical utilities will see higher rates starting in February. The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to approve rate changes for Entergy Corp. and Mississippi Power Co. Customers of New Orleans-based Entergy, serving the western half of the state, will see rates rise 10 percent because of higher costs for fuel and other items. Public utilities staff says a yardstick residential customer will pay $114 in February, up from $104 now. Entergy’s revenues are projected to increase by about $67 million. Mississippi Power ratepayers from Meridian to the Gulf Coast will see rates rise 4 percent. A yardstick residential customer will pay $130 a month, compared to $126 now. Changes are projected to increase revenue by $39 million for the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    WJTV / 12 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Businesses & Offices delayed, closed on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018Businesses & Offices delayed, closed on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018

    Several offices and businesses will delay opening or will be closed due to the possibility of wintry weather expected on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Some events have also been canceled. Baptist Adult Day Health Services in Clinton closed Wednesday Catholic Day at the Capitol, set for Wednesday, Jan. 17, has been canceled due to deteriorating weather conditions. Clinton Family Care–Dr. David Wheat closed Wednesday Hinds County: Hinds County offices delay opening until 10 a.m. on January 17, 2018. The Hinds County Department of Emergency Management office will be open during regular working hours and will continue to monitor weather and hazardous conditions for the duration of this weather event. Koch Foods: Koch Foods Processing plant located Morton, MS & Koch Foods Debone plant located in Forest, MS WILL NOT be running day shift on Wednesday January 17th. Night shift is to report as scheduled. McCoy Federal Building DELAYED OPENING 10am Paul Lacoste Sports Training cancelled Wednesday Peco Foods: Peco Foods-Feather Lane will be closed  Tuesday night. They will open Wednesday at 9 a.m. Peco Foods – Fulton Street in Canton will not operate Tuesday night shift. Dayshift Wednesday will also be canceled. Noral duties resume Wednesay night. Rankin Government Offices will be closed Wednesday Sanderson Farms Hazelhurst Processing –1st shift will NOT report Wednesday Jan 17th  2nd shift will report to work as scheduled South Central Clinics Due to weather conditions, all South Central Clinics, Rehabilitation and Wellness Center will open at 9am with the exception of South Central Cancer Center, which will open at 8am. State Offices: Gov. Phil Bryant has ordered agency heads to delay opening state offices on Wednesday, Jan. 17, until 10 a.m. Agency heads will also have discretion whether to require non-emergency personnel to report to work. Trustmark: Locations in Brookhaven, Hazlehurst and McComb will delay opening offices until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Locations in Magee and Smith County will delay opening offices until 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Tyson Foods: in Forest, MS plant will not run Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Production resumes Wednesday night and Thursday  in Vicksburg 1st shift will start up at 9am on Wed. Jan. 17 Warren Yazoo Behavioral Health serving Warren and Yazoo Counties will be closed Wednesday, January 17 Get a list of school closings here. 

    WJTV / 12 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Vicksburg city offices, schools closed WednesdayVicksburg city offices, schools closed Wednesday

    The city of Vicksburg has declared that it will shut down Wednesday due to winter weather. According to Mayor Flaggs, city offices are going to be closed tomorrow. City schools are also shut down for Wednesday. We will keep you up to date on this developing story. Copyright 2018 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

    WLBT / 13 h. 35 min. ago
  • MDOT advises drivers to stay off roadsMDOT advises drivers to stay off roads

    JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mississippi Department of Transportation is advising drivers to stay off roads in counties affected by winter weather conditions. “The safety of the traveling public is MDOT’s number one priority,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “Traveling on roads and bridges where ice is present is unsafe, and all motorists should avoid travel.” U.S. Highway 61 in Warren County, U.S. Highway 82 in Leflore County and State Route 463 in Madison County are showing significant icing. Motorists should avoid these areas for travel. MDOT crews continue to work throughout the state to place salt and slag on affected roads and bridges so they remain passable. “Counties in northeast Mississippi are experiencing slick conditions,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “Salt is becoming ineffective, because the temperatures are below 20 degrees. Crews in these areas have ceased spreading salt to conserve supplies and will begin plowing and spreading asphalt slag where possible.” If travel is necessary due to an emergency situation, follow these tips slow down, especially when driving in winter weather conditions; allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you; brake early to allow plenty of time to stop; brake gently to avoid skidding and never slam on the brakes; turn on lights to be more visible to other motorists; do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads; stay alert and look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do; and drive safely. Motorists should avoid these areas for travel. For a list of Mississippi counties reporting ice on roadways, click HERE.

    WJTV / 13 h. 48 min. ago more
  • PHOTOS: Snow DayPHOTOS: Snow Day

    Photos: Snow Day Look at these giant ice cycles on Highway 3 between Yazoo City and Vicksburg (Photo: WJTV) Look at these giant ice cycles on Highway 3 between Yazoo City and Vicksburg (Photo: WJTV) Conway, MS (Photo: Tammy Bridges and David Holifield) Yazoo City off of Highway 49 on Jerry Clower Blvd (Photo: K. Sudduth) Yazoo City off of Highway 49 on Jerry Clower Blvd (Photo: K. Sudduth) Jackson, Miss. (Photo: Scott Smith) Jackson, Ms (Photo: Shamika Hollinshed) Vicksburg, MS (Photo from Princess Ann) Vicksburg, MS (Photo from Princess Ann) Lena, Miss (Courtesy: Teju Fountain) The Midway Community in Yazoo County (Photo: Jennifer Henson Boone) The Midway Community in Yazoo County (Photo: Jennifer Henson Boone) The Midway Community in Yazoo County (Photo: Jennifer Henson Boone) The Midway Community in Yazoo County (Photo: Jennifer Henson Boone) Brownsville, MS (Photo: Cathie Bardin) Hazlehurst, MS (Photo: Susan Ketzel) Blowing bubbles in the frigid weather! (Photo: Jennifer Johnson) Snow in Benton (Photo: Joshua Anderson) South Lamar Bridge over Highway 6(Photo: Oxford Police Dept) Molly Barr in Oxford (Photo: Oxford Police Dept) Jackson Avenue side of the square in Oxford (Photo: Oxford Police Dept) Snow in Clinton (Photo: Stephanie Preston) Snow in Clinton (Photo: Stephanie Preston) Snow in Clinton (Photo: Stephanie Preston) Sandhill (Photo: Jodi Floyd)

    WJTV / 13 h. 52 min. ago more
  • 18-wheeler jack-knifed on I-55 N at Colony Park Blvd.18-wheeler jack-knifed on I-55 N at Colony Park Blvd.

    An 18-wheeler jack-knifed on I-55 north at Colony Park Blvd. 

    WLBT / 13 h. 56 min. ago
  • Fannye CookFannye Cook

    Mississippians may often hear Fannye Cook's name in discussions of the state's history. Those who are not involved in the natural-science community may not know as much about her, however, other than her exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The conservationist and scientist was instrumental in establishing the state's gaming and fishing laws, and leading the charge to restore and protect Mississippi's natural world. Marion Barnwell and former MMNS Director Libby Hartfield set out to tell people about Cook's life and legacy through the book, "Fannye Cook: Mississippi's Pioneering Conservationist" (University of Mississippi Press, 2017, $20). The two women helped to finish the book after its author, Delta State University English professor Dorothy Shawhan, died during the second editing phase. "Dorothy Shawhan was very much interested in noticing women who had been under-celebrated," Barnwell says. The author wrote books with women as central figures, including biographies of artist Carolyn Norris and lawyer Lucy Somerville Howorth, and novels such as "Lizzie" and "Going to Graceland." "She'd have been very pleased to know that the book ('Fannye Cook: Mississippi's Pioneering Conservationist') has already had a good reception," Barnwell says. Cook was born July 19, 1889, in Crystal Springs, Miss. Her love for wildlife began as a child when she started studying and collecting wild plants, birds, mammals and amphibians. She graduated in 1911 from the Industrial Institute and College, now the Mississippi University for Women, with a bachelor's degree in English and history. She worked as a principal and teacher in Beauregard, West Point and Louisville, Miss., among other U.S. cities, and later, in 1915, she taught at Cristobal High School in Panama. It was literature that first made her want to embark on a conservation campaign in the state. An article from the Mississippi Historical Society's Mississippi History Now website says that later on in her life, Cook wrote, "In 1923 and 1924, the writer, while engaged in a survey of the literature relating to Mississippi wildlife, was impressed with this insufficiency of information and with the inconvenience of assembling such as had been published." After several years working for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., Cook resigned in September 1924, moving back to Mississippi later that year and starting her wildlife collections. She collected skins from birds such as the green-winged teal, the eastern bluebird, ring-necked duck and Savannah sparrow and brought them back to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Her collections of birds, mammals, plants, reptiles, mollusks and fossils are now part of the national collection. The Mississippi History Now article says that, in the 1920s, Mississippi had no department responsible for the protection of wildlife, and many officials were not concerned with protecting certain game species. "We had no game protection (and) no game laws here," Hartfield says. "There were a lot of bad things happening as far as wildlife being wiped out. You could shoot as many deer as you wanted, and so on." It got so bad that market hunters, or those who killed edible or fur-bearing wildlife to sell and ship for consumption in other states, made it difficult for people such as farmers to hunt deer, she says. In 1926, Cook began traveling Mississippi to campaign for a state conservation program. She received office space after professors at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (now Mississippi State University) saw her exhibition on the usefulness of birds in combating harmful insects at the 1926 Mississippi State Fair. A year later, she founded the Mississippi Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, which called for the creation of wildlife refuges, public hunting grounds and a state department of conservation, among other goals. Cook solicited funding and lobbied the Mississippi Legislature to create a state gaming and fishing commission. In 1932, the legislature passed a law that allowed the creation of the agency to write game laws, name game wardens and more. In her years as a conservationist and scientist in the state, Cook helped save Horn Island on the coast and made it part of the National Park Service, and established the Mississippi Academy of Science, among other achievements. "She was a very well-known scientist in her day, but I think partly because she was a woman, she got very quickly forgotten," Hartfield says. "... She was a woman in Mississippi at a time (when) women still didn't have the right to vote. She did pretty much incredible things." Hartfield and Barnwell will sign copies of "Fannye Cook: Mississippi's Pioneering Conservationist" on Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Eudora Welty House and Garden (1119 Pinehurst St.)..The event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is free and open to the public, though seating is limited. The book signing will be at 5 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Cathy Shropshire will perform her one-woman show about Cook's life, and Welty biographer Suzanne Marrs will read letters that Welty wrote, including anecdotes about Cook, after that. For more information, visit the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website.

    Jackson Free Press / 13 h. 57 min. ago more
  • Fannye Cook - Jackson Free PressFannye Cook - Jackson Free Press

    Jackson Free PressFannye CookJackson Free PressThose who are not involved in the natural-science community may not know as much about her, however, other than her exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The conservationist and scientist was instrumental in establishing the state's ...

    Google News / 13 h. 58 min. ago
  • Snow falls across MississippiSnow falls across Mississippi

    JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Snow is coming down across the Magnolia State. WJTV 12 has crews throughout the Metro area reporting on conditions. The Department of  Transportation advises for drives to stay off the roads. JPD issued a travel advisory as well, encouraging drivers to use caution on bridges and overpasses.

    WJTV / 14 h. 4 min. ago
  • Welfare check leads to the arrest of a 76-year-old manWelfare check leads to the arrest of a 76-year-old man

    LAUREL, Miss.(WHLT) – A man in Laurel is arrested and charged after a welfare concern complaint. At around 9:11 a.m. on January 13, officers responded to Pine Lake Drive for a welfare check. The complainant relayed concerns about the well-being of an elderly female. After officials arrived on scene, they arrested Ben Council, 76, due to home conditions, temperature and an assault that occurred against the victim. Council appeared in Laurel Municipal Court over the weekend for the charge of Abuse and Neglect of a Vulnerable Person. His bond was set at $25,000. The elderly female was transported to SCRMC for treatment. Anyone with information about this case or any other case are encouraged to call LPD at 601-399-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 601-428-STOP.

    WJTV / 14 h. 5 min. ago more
  • Snow, ice coat roads and bridges in Mississippi - Jackson Clarion LedgerSnow, ice coat roads and bridges in Mississippi - Jackson Clarion Ledger

    Jackson Clarion LedgerSnow, ice coat roads and bridges in MississippiJackson Clarion LedgerPhil Bryant Monday ordered agency heads to delay opening state offices on Tuesday until 10 a.m., due to expected winter weather, and schools throughout the metro Jackson area, including Jackson Public Schools, will be closed. Mississippi State ...Winter Weather School & Business Closures January 16, 2018Mississippi Public Broadcasting (blog)all 4 news articles »

    Google News / 15 h. 45 min. ago more
  • MS Jackson MS Zone Forecast - Argus PressMS Jackson MS Zone Forecast - Argus Press

    MS Jackson MS Zone ForecastArgus Press689 FPUS54 KJAN 161559. ZFPJAN. Zone Forecast Product. National Weather Service Jackson MS. 958 AM CST Tue Jan 16 2018. MSZ048-170600-. Hinds-. Including the city of Jackson. 958 AM CST Tue Jan 16 2018 ...HARD FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST ...and more »

    Google News / 17 h. 41 min. ago
  • As snow coats roads in Deep South, Louisiana freeways closeAs snow coats roads in Deep South, Louisiana freeways close

    Snow falling in Louisiana during the pre-dawn hours prompted the closure of multiple interstates as a winter weather system took aim at other states across the Deep South, forecasters said. Snow was falling before dawn Tuesday in Louisiana and Mississippi, and was expected to move into Alabama and Georgia later Tuesday.

    Jackson News / 18 h. 42 min. ago
  • Organizations, students and professionals observe MLK Day of ServiceOrganizations, students and professionals observe MLK Day of Service

    Monday the country celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Civil Rights pioneer would have turned 89 years old. The third Monday in January is now a day of service for many.

    Jackson News / 23 h. 17 min. ago
  • Jackson residents prepare for potential winter weather - Mississippi News NowJackson residents prepare for potential winter weather - Mississippi News Now

    Jackson residents prepare for potential winter weatherMississippi News NowAhead of the winter weather expected to hit Mississippi, many Jacksonians were busy Monday, stocking up on cold weather essentials. Alexis Coleman was one of many shoppers that stopped by an area Sav-A-Lot store to stock up on food. “I'm just getting ...

    Google News / 23 h. 51 min. ago
  • Woman convicted in silicone injection case dies - Mississippi News NowWoman convicted in silicone injection case dies - Mississippi News Now

    The IndependentWoman convicted in silicone injection case diesMississippi News NowThe Hinds County woman convicted of murder in a silicone injection case has died. 58 year old Tracy Lynn Garner was pronounced dead at 5:56 a.m. Sunday at Merit Health in Jackson. Garner was convicted for killing Karima Gordon of Georgia in 2012, by ...Mississippi inmate in buttocks injection killing has diedJackson Clarion LedgerTracy Lynn Garner dead: Mississippi prison inmate convicted of murder by silicon buttock injections dies aged 58The Independentall 18 news articles »

    Google News / 23 h. 51 min. ago more
  • Winter weather could impact roadways - Mississippi News NowWinter weather could impact roadways - Mississippi News Now

    Winter weather could impact roadwaysMississippi News NowThere is a possibility that local roads, interstates, and highways could become slick, should predicted snow accumulate Tuesday. That could impact drivers in the morning rush hour, and beyond, should the temperatures stay below freezing. At this time ...

    Google News / 1 d. 2 h. 24 min. ago
  • Inmate convicted of giving fatal buttocks injection diesInmate convicted of giving fatal buttocks injection dies

    Garner was convicted of depraved heart murder in connection to illicit silicone buttocks injections that led to a Georgia... President Donald Trump was mentioned nearly as often as Martin Luther King Jr. by those commemorating the national holiday created in honor of the slain civil rights leader. President Donald Trump was mentioned nearly as often as Martin Luther King Jr. by those commemorating the national holiday created in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

    Jackson News / 1 d. 3 h. 34 min. ago more
  • Woman convicted in silicone injection case diesWoman convicted in silicone injection case dies

    Officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections say the manner and cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

    WLBT / 1 d. 6 h. 1 min. ago
  • Mississippi inmate in buttocks injection killing has diedMississippi inmate in buttocks injection killing has died

    Thank you for reading 10 free articles on Fredericksburg.com. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 10 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information.

    Jackson News / 1 d. 8 h. 1 min. ago
  • Free Admission to 2 Museums in Honor of MLK Day Through TuesdayFree Admission to 2 Museums in Honor of MLK Day Through Tuesday

    In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the second annual National Day of Racial Healing, Mississippians can enjoy the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History on Monday, Jan. 15, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, free of charge. The two museums are open today and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "The museums tell powerful stories about our state's past and how the racial hierarchies in Mississippi in particular have impacted everything from our education system to our economy," Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of Mississippi programming for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said in a press release. "The National Day of Racial Healing helps us come together and develop a shared understanding of our history, as an important step in healing and moving us toward a stronger future for our children." The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which donated money that made the free admission possible, created the National Day of Racial Healing along with more than 130 organizations in January 2017. Those who visit the two museums today and tomorrow can also take their tickets to the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center for courtesy admission, a press release from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History says. The two museums opened in December to commemorate the state's bicentennial. The celebration caused a political rift among some local and state leaders, some opting to boycott the ceremony after President Donald Trump announced he would attend the opening ceremony; however, the president never appeared publicly. This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes just a few days after the president reportedly called African countries and Haiti "sh*thole countries" in immigration meetings last week. This weekend, Trump assured journalists he was not a racist, the Associated Press reported. Politicians, journalists and historians who have visited the two museums note that neither museum sugarcoats Mississippi's racist history. "I don't know of any museum that hits racism so straightforwardly and so hard. When you walk in and see the names of people who were lynched, this is not trying to cover anything up," John Dittmer, author of the book "Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi," told reporters when the museums opened in December. Mississippi still commemorates the third Monday each January both as Robert E. Lee's birthday and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the state's legal holiday law says. Rep. Kabir Karriem, D-Columbus, has introduced legislation this session to move Robert E. Lee Day to the fourth Monday in January instead of it coinciding with MLK Day each year. Lawmakers return to Jackson this afternoon, and the House Education and Appropriations Committees will meet about the new proposed education funding formula at 2 p.m. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 1 d. 13 h. 38 min. ago more
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  • Airport Commissioner, Takeover Opponent Rosie L.T.P. Johnson DiesAirport Commissioner, Takeover Opponent Rosie L.T.P. Johnson Dies

    A commissioner of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board, Rosie L.T.P. Johnson, passed away just before the weekend. The current JMAA chairman, James L. Henley, Jr., issued a statement on Jan. 12—the day of Johnson's passing—offering condolences to her family and praising Johnson's commitment to the airport. "Her enthusiasm for the City of Jackson and inexhaustible commitment to Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International and Hawkins Field Airports is irreplaceable and will be missed greatly," the statement reads. In 2014, former Mayor Tony Yarber appointed her to the JMAA board. She served as chairwoman in 2015 and vice chair in 2016. Johnson was a vocal advocate for keeping the airport under City control throughout the Mississippi Legislature's move to take over control of the Jackson airport in the last two years. "Some of the most negative impact this could have is, number one, it says to our children and other citizens that you can own something, you can follow the rules and so forth, but if someone decides that they may choose to change it (they can) without real logic, without making any business sense," Johnson said in May. "That's a message we don't really want to be teaching." Several former and current Jackson City Council members, Yarber and the JMAA filed a legal claim against Gov. Phil Bryant and a running list of state officials directly and indirectly involved with the airport "takeover" bill in 2016. The plaintiffs alleged that Senate Bill 2162 violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The legislation transfers control of the airport, which is in Rankin County but sits on City of Jackson property, from the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority to a larger nine-member board made up of appointed officials from the city, Rankin and Madison counties, as well as mayoral, governor and lieutenant governor appointees. The lawsuit halted any transfer of powers, and for now, the majority African American JMAA still maintains control of the airport, as Johnson wanted. "Ownership of the airports belongs to Jackson. Its citizens should not be disenfranchised by someone else arbitrarily deciding these are the things that we want to happen, we want to take your property, rearrange it and tell you in essence how you should operate," Johnson said. Johnson lived in Mississippi since the 1970s after graduating from Jackson State University. She held many degrees including a doctorate in philosophy from Jackson State University and a master's of education in blind rehabilitation, with an emphasis on orientation and mobility for the blind from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She served as the superintendent of the Mississippi School for the Blind for 15 years before retiring in 2013. She also served as the superintendent of the Mississippi School for the Deaf for two of those years. Henley closed his statement by praising Johnson's accomplishments with JMAA, lamenting that Johnson's passion and dedication to the airport and her community "will be cherished for years to come." Email City Reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com. Read more about the airport takeover at jfp.ms/airport.

    Jackson Free Press / 1 d. 13 h. 52 min. ago more
  • Analysis: Budget increase sought amid popularity of museumsAnalysis: Budget increase sought amid popularity of museums

    A lit walkway shows the path to the state's two history museums, the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, in Jackson, Miss.

    Jackson News / 2 d. 17 h. 44 min. ago
  • Top Story'Mississippi Burning' KKK leader Killen dies in prison at 92Top Story'Mississippi Burning' KKK leader Killen dies in prison at 92

    In this Jan. 7, 2005, file photo, Edgar Ray Killen sits in court in Philadelphia, Miss. Killen, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted in the 1964 "Mississippi Burning" slayings of three civil rights workers, died in prison at the age of 92, the state's corrections department announced Friday, Jan. 12, 2018.

    Jackson News / 3 d. 13 h. 18 min. ago
  • The More Outdoor Show 01-13-18 8amThe More Outdoor Show 01-13-18 8am

    State Senator Sharon Hewitt expressed concern with developments on the pearl and Captian Crystal of Gone Fishin' reveals the wonders of Alaska during this years Cajun Invasion in August. Martha I don't think that was Mel mcdaniels saying in that version of Louisiana Saturday night wasn't.

    Jackson News / 3 d. 15 h. 34 min. ago
  • Myrlie Evers tours Mississippi civil rights, history museumsMyrlie Evers tours Mississippi civil rights, history museums

    Thank you for reading 10 free articles on Fredericksburg.com. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 10 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 9 h. 17 min. ago
  • Jackson Schools to Re-Open on Tuesday with Make-up Days AheadJackson Schools to Re-Open on Tuesday with Make-up Days Ahead

    Frozen pipes mean more than low water pressure for local public schools: the district is closed until Tuesday, Jan. 16. Jackson Public Schools was forced to close after the cold snap that froze many of the capital city's aging pipes that led to more than 100 water-main breaks this past week. On Jan. 10, half of schools still had low or no water pressure, a release from the district says. Some schools had no water at all early in the week, and most of the schools need water pressure to heat and air condition the schools. Jackson Public Schools was supposed to resume classes after winter break on Monday, Jan. 8. Schools that were warm last week are now cold, Don McCrackin, executive director of facilities, told the JPS Board of Trustees on Tuesday at its first monthly meeting. McCrackin said his staff is monitoring the schools but that about half the schools had too little pressure for working toilets as of Tuesday. JPS has two inclement weather makeup days built into the schedule that will make up for missing Monday and Tuesday, but because the district is closed the rest of the week, students will have to make up for lost time somehow. Interim Superintendent Freddrick Murray told the board that his staff is exploring all options, including adding hours to the end of school days or potential make-up days on Saturdays. "Extending the day is a possibility," Murray said. "A few years ago we missed seven days, and we made days up in a myriad ways: we came on a Saturday; we came Memorial Day; we extended the day, so there were several different strategies to make the days up," Murray told the board. "We will be transparent, and we will work with our teachers and community and the board (on a plan)." After four days of school closure, Murray said, the district would have the flexibility to add hours to the day, but before that the district has to make the days up individually. The board did not pass a plan to make up those days at its meeting but will have to in coming weeks. The board did approve the district's new corrective action plan, however, and JPS will turn it in to the Mississippi Department of Education next week. JPS is on probation with the state Commission on School Accreditation, after an investigative audit last year found the district to be out of compliance with 24 standards. Board President Jeanne Hairston also announced that the board will schedule work sessions with MDE to provide expertise to about state accreditation process. Hairston also announced that the board would begin a search for a new superintendent soon, mentioning a request for proposal that the board will discuss at their next meeting on Jan. 16. Email reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 13 h. 12 min. ago more
  • House Passes $100 Million Transportation Legislation In Bipartisan VoteHouse Passes $100 Million Transportation Legislation In Bipartisan Vote

    The Mississippi House of Representatives voted to use approximately $108 million in tax revenue for roads and bridges on Thursday in a bipartisan vote. House Bill 722 will divert 35 percent of the state's use tax collections to cities, counties and a grant program to pay for infrastructure. The Department of Revenue collects use tax on goods residents purchase that are shipped and delivered into Mississippi from out-of-state. Recently, some online retailers including Amazon began to voluntarily collect the tax for the state. All brick-and-mortar stores here already collect the use tax on purchases. Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, who has previously pushed for use tax collections to go to roads and bridges, presented the legislation on the House floor Thursday. "House Bill 722 is the most significant piece of legislation that I've seen in my time here," he said. "It's designed to provide a new dedicated stream of revenue back to the cities and counties of this state specifically earmarked for road and bridges repair." The legislation divides the 35-percent diversion of use tax into three categories: 15 percent for cities, 15 percent for counties, and 5 percent for a grant program that the Mississippi Development Authority will administer to cities and counties that apply. County and city supervisors will have the authority to spend the funds on roads and bridges as they see fit, Lamar told representatives. The more than $100 million sales-tax diversion will come out of general-fund revenues, however, meaning that lawmakers will have to cut other state agency budgets in order to pay for the legislation. "Do you know what are we going to cut to pay for it?" Rep. Jarvis Dortch, D-Raymond, asked Lamar. "I don't," Lamar said, noting that the House does not want to cut K-12 education funds to help pay for it. "... We're going to have to make those tough decisions." Rep. Thomas Reynolds, D-Charleston, offered an amendment that named House Bill 722 the "Improve Mississippi Act of 2018," and said the Legislature intends the bill to be the first phase in a comprehensive road plan. "It will do some real good. We have right now a transportation crisis in this state," he said. Reynolds' amendment was not popular with everyone. Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, spoke against it. "I don't think now is the time to pat ourselves on the back for doing anything for the people," he said. House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, said he did not care what the House did with the amendment, and it ultimately passed 60-53, with several Republicans voting for it. House Bill 722 passed 118-0, moments later. The legislation will have to survive in the Senate to be a reality. Laura Hipp, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' communications director, would not specify his thoughts on the proposal. Last session, he was adamantly opposed to directing use taxes to pay for infrastructure needs. "The Senate will review the proposals sent over by the House and will work over the next three months to find a solution to support infrastructure maintenance," she told the Jackson Free Press. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 13 h. 17 min. ago more
  • 'Mississippi Burning' KKK leader Killen dies in prison at 92'Mississippi Burning' KKK leader Killen dies in prison at 92

    This undated photo provided by the Mississippi Department of Corrections shows Edgar Ray Killen, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted in the 1964 "Mississippi Burning" slayings of three civil rights workers.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 13 h. 37 min. ago
  • Meeko the Moon BearMeeko the Moon Bear

    The Jackson Zoo announced on Dec. 18, 2017, that a new animal had recently arrived: Meeko the moon bear. Meeko, who is 2 years old, came to the zoo in late November from the Metro Richmond Zoo in Moseley, Va. Moon bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and meat. Their diets often include leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and honey from beehives, along with termites, crickets, rodents, lizards, birds and other small animals. The species can live up to 30 years in protected habitats such as zoos and wildlife refuges, a press release from the Jackson Zoo says. The animals primarily live in Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of southeastern Asia, occupying different types of densely forested areas, including mountain ranges, bush flats and meadows. The species is also known as the Asiatic, Himalayan or Tibetan black bear. The name "moon bear" comes from the pale fur on their chests, which often looks like a half moon. The bears share a common ancestry with American black bears but have slightly longer manes and snouts. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists moon bears as vulnerable on its endangered species list. Their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, and today, there are only about 50,000 left in the wild. "The Jackson Zoo staff hopes that Meeko will help people better understand and raise awareness of the importance of sustainable practices, even so far away from the endangered habitats," the zoo press release says. The Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.) will host Meeko's third birthday party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20. The first 50 guests will receive a free slice of cookie cake from the Outlets of Mississippi's Great American Cookies store and Nesquik milk from Brown Bottling Group. Guests can also sign a giant birthday card for Meeko, make crafts and do other bear-themed activities. Keepers will give special gifts to Meeko throughout the day. For more information, find the event on Facebook or visit jacksonzoo.org.

    Jackson Free Press / 4 d. 13 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Historic photos of Martin Luther King Jr.Historic photos of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. displays his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 1964. The 35-year-old Dr. King was honored for promoting the principle of non-violence in the civil rights movement.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 15 h. 56 min. ago
  • LEC introduces major innovation in Industrial Internet of ThingsLEC introduces major innovation in Industrial Internet of Things

    By BECKY GILLETTE mbj@msbusiness.com LEC Inc. has been involved in industrial automation for nearly 30 years in the Jackson area.

    Jackson News / 4 d. 20 h. 42 min. ago
  • There's a code for jobs: With 1,000 unfilled positions in state, teachers look for students - Mississippi Business JournalThere's a code for jobs: With 1,000 unfilled positions in state, teachers look for students - Mississippi Business Journal

    From cell phones, to tablets, to smart watches, technology never seems to be out of reach.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 1 h. 21 min. ago
  • Woodward Hines Education Foundation Elects New Board MembersWoodward Hines Education Foundation Elects New Board Members

    The Woodward Hines Education Foundation has elected two new members to its board of directors, Robert E. Leard, IV, and Debra Barnes McGee.

    Jackson News / 5 d. 5 h. 48 min. ago
  • Governor Pushes Vouchers, Praises Trump in 'State of the State'Governor Pushes Vouchers, Praises Trump in 'State of the State'

    The governor made sure to mention President Donald Trump's visit to Jackson in his "State of the State" address on Tuesday, Jan. 9. "I am thankful to the president of the United States of America who came to Jackson, Mississippi, to honor the opening of our great two museums," Bryant said in the House of Representatives chamber to some of the state's most powerful leaders. Republicans stood to applaud, while Democrats throughout the chamber, including Attorney General Jim Hood and Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba, stayed seated. "(Millions of) people watched the president's tour and remarks that day at the civil-rights museum. It seemed the entire world was watching as Mississippi told our own story," Bryant said. The governor recalled a "feeling of mutual reconciliation and joy" during the opening of the two new museums on Dec. 9. In reality, one of Mississippi's own congressmen, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, refused to attend the ceremony, along with civil-rights veteran and fellow Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia. Lumumba also boycotted the ceremony after Trump announced he would attend the event. Trump never appeared publicly at the 2 Museums event, instead speaking to a small, select group inside the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Bryant's "State of the State" address recapped Mississippi's achievements in 2017, such as its lowest unemployment rate to date, and outlined his wish list for the new legislative session. Bryant applauded economic development, and said he would call for cutting more government regulations in 2018. "This session I will have some other recommendations to reduce more government regulations, and unleash the independent spirit and make Mississippi the most job-friendly state in America," he said. The governor also supports expanding what supporters call "school choice" in the form of vouchers for students with special needs this session. Mississippi already has "education-scholarship accounts" that go to approximately 400 families for students with special needs, but the Senate is already in talks to expand the legislation this year. So far, Bryant says he wants more families with special needs to get vouchers, while legislators such as Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, wants to extend vouchers to families living in poverty, not just for children with special needs. Bryant also announced his intentions to move the Department of Public Safety headquarters, currently on Woodrow Wilson Avenue in Jackson, to Rankin County near the crime lab. The current building is in deplorable condition, he said, but could be turned into a new medical conference center to become the "gateway of the medical corridor" in Jackson. The governor, who controls both the Division of Medicaid and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, announced that he will not move eligibility verification for Medicaid recipients to MDHS, despite considering the move. "I contemplated moving Medicaid eligibility to the Department of Human Services, something that is done in 46 other states," he said. "However, (with) the change in leadership at the division of Medicaid, I now believe it would be prudent to delay such a transfer until a complete review of its benefits to providers and beneficiaries can be completed." Lawmakers have to re-authorize the Division of Medicaid this session with legislation, and Gov. Bryant encouraged them to focus on a preventive approach to health care while putting the responsibility of the state's poor health on Medicaid recipients. "The health of our population continues to lag behind most of the nation. Unfortunately, many of these problems are of our own making. We have an overwhelming tendency to be our own worst enemy when it comes to obesity and substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases," Bryant said. "If we are to solve these problems, we must face the uncomfortable facts and take the necessary steps to assist those suffering while encouraging them to be more responsible for their own preventative health care." Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid eligibility would help the state care for those "truly in need," he said. In the last session, Republicans pushed through House Bill 1090, based on model legislation from other states, which tightens the state's eligibility system for benefits. Critics say the measure means fewer Mississippians will enroll in Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or those enrolled will be kicked off the rolls at higher rates. A 2017 report found that many Jackson mothers do not even bother applying for benefits due to the stringent requirements. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara.

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 13 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Maurice RiversMaurice Rivers

    This year, Jackson State University's basketball team played a competitive out-of-conference schedule and struggled to a 3-10 record. The Tigers have righted the ship since entering 2018 and are currently on a four-game winning streak. One bright spot throughout the season has been forward Maurice Rivers. The senior is one of three players averaging double-digits in points. He currently leads Jackson State in scoring at 12.2 per game and is second on the team in rebounds with 5.1 per game. In the beginning of his college career, Rivers played for Rice University, and averaged just 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12 games during the 2014-2015 season. He joined Chipola College in Marianne, Fla., for the 2015-2016 season and improved his averages to 6.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Last season, his first at JSU, Rivers averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 games. This year, the Atlanta native has scored in double digits in 11 of the Tigers' 17 games. His best outputs so far this season were 30 points in a 62-91 loss to Louisiana Tech University on Dec. 9, and 19 points in a 58-86 loss to Mercer University on Nov. 14. After a six-game streak of scoring 10 points or more, Rivers only managed four points in a 54-70 loss to Ball State University on Dec. 22. However, during his streak of double-digit points, he averaged 15.5 points per game. Rivers started off slowly when SWAC play began the next week, as well, with the Tigers' first conference game against Alabama State University on Jan. 1. He scored just seven points in JSU's 82-73 win. He has returned to double-digit scoring in the Tigers' next SWAC games, though, with 12 points against Alabama A&M University on Jan. 3, 15 points against Alcorn State University on Jan. 6, and 14 points against Southern University on Jan. 8. Jackson State's most recent win put the team in first place in the SWAC with a perfect 4-0 conference record and helped the Tigers improve to 7-10 overall. In conference rankings, Rivers is currently 10th in scoring, and 11th in rebounding and field-goal percentage. He is 14th in free-throw percentage and eighth in blocked shots. JSU will need Rivers playing some of his best ball over the next five games this month. The team will host Texas Southern University on Saturday, Jan. 13. TSU might be 3-13 overall, but those three wins have been in conference play, and Texas Southern has won four of the last five conference regular-season titles and three of the last four conference tournaments. On Monday, Jan. 15, the Tigers will host the Prairie View A&M University Panthers, who are just a game-and-a-half away from taking the SWAC's top spot. JSU will then finish its three-game homestand on Jan. 20 against Grambling State University, which is currently 1-3 in SWAC play. Jackson State will hit the road on Jan. 27 to face Mississippi Valley State, which is currently winless in conference play. The Tigers face the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which is tied with TSU at 3-0 in SWAC play, on Jan. 29. A strong showing from Rivers and the rest of the Tigers could set them up to compete for the top seed in the conference tournament. The last time Jackson State was the SWAC Tournament champion was in the 2006-2007 season.

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 13 h. 19 min. ago more
  • West Rankin's Water, Sewer Lawsuit Against Jackson ContinuesWest Rankin's Water, Sewer Lawsuit Against Jackson Continues

    Water and sewage are at the heart of dueling legal efforts the City of Jackson and a coalition of west Rankin elected officials brought against each in recent years. To show "good faith," the City dropped all its legal proceedings against the West Rankin Utility Authority in December; however, the Rankin action against the City for breach of contract for over-charging still remains. The City was trying to continue the revenue it received from WRUA and prevent it from dumping wastewater in the Pearl River. The West Rankin Utility Authority is a client of the City of Jackson, sending its water to the Savanna Street wastewater treatment plant here. But, WRUA began paperwork as early as 2011 to get permission to erect its own plant in order to disconnect from the City's. In November 2012, the City of Jackson entered a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency for the Savanna Street plant and others to come into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act with its sludge removal from the wastewater plants. WRUA uses the decree in legal documents to point to the City's mismanagement. The Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board awarded WRUA the necessary permissions in April 2015 to start its own plant and discharge treated wastewater directly into the Pearl River instead of sending it through Savanna Street first. The City challenged WRUA's permit to disconnect from Savanna Street in an appeal that went to the Mississippi Supreme Court after Rankin County Chancery Court sided with WRUA. Jackson's Supreme Court appeal alleged that with the state permit, WRUA "will cause degradation of the Pearl River," pointing to anti-degradation regulations. The City believed those regulations should have required the permit board to deny WRUA permission to discharge additional pollutants into that river because "there is technically an economically feasible alternative available to the applicant that will not cause further water quality degradation," Jackson's appeal from August 2017 reads. However, at the request of Jackson Public Works Director Bob Miller, the City Council voted at its Dec. 19 meeting to drop this appeal to lay the foundation for restoring the relationship between the City and west Rankin. The City filed the necessary court papers to voluntarily dismiss the appeal, and the Mississippi Supreme Court granted its wishes on Jan 2. "I subscribe to that theory that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging," Miller told the Jackson Free Press on Jan. 8. "And that's kind of where we were in the relationship with West Rankin— that with that continued lawsuit, we were just digging the hole deeper." Miller added that he wants to run the wastewater relationships like a business that provides "more reliable service and more predictable pricing."This decision does have potential financial risks involved. In a memo to the council, Miller indicated that WRUA's leaving the Savanna Street plant would cause costs to rise for the remaining customers. Despite Jackson's efforts to make amends, WRUA's lawsuit against the City still stands. The authority claims Jackson breached its contract when the City overcharged WRUA for sludge removal that the consent decree requires, court documents filed in May 2015 show. WRUA only feels responsible for "a minor portion of the costs" because the sludge problems "predate the authority more than 20 years," the lawsuit reads. At WRUA's first board meeting on Jan. 8 following Jackson dismissal of the lawsuit, the board discussed updates on the independent wastewater-treatment plant. Keith Turner, attorney for WRUA, confirmed that the organization is still in its planning and design phases for its treatment plant. The board is exploring several funding options from bonds to EPA grants. The members voted on a resolution to notify the public of their intent to issue bonds for up to $135 million. Their "lean" estimate to date for the plant is $92 million. WRUA serves Flowood, Pearl, Richland, Brandon, the Pearl River Valley Supply District, the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield, a correctional facility and other state agencies. Mayors from those listed cities sit on the WRUA board. If WRUA's favorable outlook on Miller is indication that things could end smoothly, then things are looking up for Jackson. But, it may not be enough. In conversation at the meeting about clearing up a valve that shut off at the Savanna Plant over the weekend because of "an operator error," WRUA characterized Miller as "a sharp guy" who "runs a tight ship." On Dec. 20, Turner told the Jackson Free Press he is not sure if having a new public works director in place with the intention to remedy the situation outside court will change the board's mind, but said that he likes Miller's track record so far. "As a citizen of Jackson," Turner said, "I'm glad to see Mr. Miller's actions in a lot of different areas. I think he's doing a great job." Email city reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 13 h. 33 min. ago more
  • City Boil-Water Alerts: Updated RegularlyCity Boil-Water Alerts: Updated Regularly

    This is a live document tracking the City's water crisis that began in the first couple days of the month after unusually cold weather. Check back for updates. Jan 15, 2018 Over the weekend the City lifted the boil-water notice system wide. The water is safe to drink. Jan 12, 2018 As of 1:00 p.m. there were 143 confirmed breaks since the 1st of the year and 101 had been completed as of this afternoon. The rest of the repairs are underway or should be completed this weekend. Contractor crews will be reduced over the weekend, as some will have days off, particularly so that everyone is ready for the extreme cold expected on Tuesday. Call 311 to report leaks, and monitor boil-water lifts by enrolling in Code Red Alerts: www.jacksonms.gov/codered. Jan 11, 2018 The City reported that as of 1:00 p.m., they had successfully completed 96 of 139 confirmed breaks. Eighteen repairs are underway, leaving 25 left to be assigned to crews today or tomorrow. The following zip codes remain under the precautionary boil-water alert: 39201, 39202, 39203, 39204, 39206, 39212, 39216, 39209, 39213 For customers using wells, as of Jan. 10, all areas of the wells have been lifted except: • [100-2700] Maddox Road • Plummer Circle • Del Rey • [2300-2699] Raymond Rd • [3000-3399] Forest Hill Rd • Forest Park subdivision The precautionary boil-water alert has been lifted for all connections Northwest of I-220 such as: • Presidential Hills (39213) • Queens subdivision (39209) • Magnolia Rd / Clinton Blvd area (39209) • Neighborhoods located off West County Line Road (39213) • Northwood / Lakeover subdivision / Cedarwood Drive area (39213) • Ashley Acres / Country Club Drive (39213) For more information, please call 601.960.2723 during business hours or 601.960.1777 / 601.960.1875 after 4 PM. You can report leaks to the City by dialing 311. Jan. 10, 2017 The City lifted boil-water advisories for customers north of Northside Drive and for customers that are served by the system wells in southeastern Jackson. As of noon, the City reported 129 confirmed breaks. Seventy-one had been completed, 19 repairs were underway, and 38 confirmed breaks had yet to be assigned. The City does not expect rainfall to affect repairs.

    Jackson Free Press / 5 d. 14 h. 18 min. ago more
  • Crises in the Capitol: Infrastructure, Crime Lab, Not Enough Money to Cover NeedsCrises in the Capitol: Infrastructure, Crime Lab, Not Enough Money to Cover Needs

    It's hard to prosecute someone for a violent crime if you do not know how the victim died. The Mississippi Legislature is grappling over that question in the new session; the Mississippi crime lab is in crisis. Crime Lab Director Sam Howell told senators last week that he will be down to just one medical examiner in a few months. The state would need seven to meet national standards. In the most recent fiscal year, the medical examiner's office performed just over 1,400 autopsies with just three doctors. In 2018, the lead medical examiner might face that caseload alone. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, invited Howell to speak with senators about the lab at a Judiciary B Committee meeting last week. Medical examiners are leaving the crime lab, Howell said, because of the workload. "They all could make more money and do less work somewhere else," Howell told senators. The result is delayed trials, prosecutions and closure in cases across the state. Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, reminded the committee that lawmakers voted to build a crime-lab facility on the Gulf Coast that is sitting empty. For now, every autopsy needed in the state, for car accidents, homicides or suicides, is done at the Pearl facility. "Instead, the bodies are shipped up here—I can only imagine how that is—instead of going to this state-of-the-art facility that the State has already paid money for," Wiggins said. Howell said three of the four candidates who interviewed for a Gulf Coast coroner job decided to look for jobs elsewhere with lighter caseloads. The majority of backlogged autopsies run between six months to a year old, Howell told senators, although coroners can finish limited autopsies—and get the bodies back out—within 24 hours. Medical examiners conduct autopsies all day, so they often do not have enough time to finish reports, Howell said. On more complicated cases, they are forced to send material out-of-state to Texas for additional study and opinion. The delay on autopsy reports can mean a delay in issuing a death certificate—and a delay in paid life insurance as a consequence. It can also mean delayed prosecutions and trials. "They (prosecutors) usually can't get an indictment, much less prosecution, until they get that final autopsy report," Howell said. Wiggins pointed out that this also means victim's families are waiting months or years to know the cause of death of their loved one. Howell requested about $11 million for the crime lab this year, but the Joint Legislative Budget Committee has recommended a cut to the agency in the upcoming fiscal year instead, proposing an $8.6 million budget instead of the little over $9 million budget the lab received this year. Supporting Tax Cuts? On Thursday, Jan. 4, the Mississippi Economic Council held its annual "Capital Day" event to outline priorities. The state chamber of commerce's top two legislative priorities are infrastructure and workforce development. "If we can't get the right workforce, our businesses will die, so it's a survival sort of position," William Yates, CEO of Yates Construction and the chairman of MEC, said. "We have to figure out how to be innovative." Top Republican lawmakers asked MEC to support them in the upcoming session on not only their infrastructure funding initiatives but also on an education formula funding re-write. House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, also asked MEC to drum up support for the tax cuts lawmakers have taken since 2012. "(I want to talk about this) accusation, if you will, that Republicans are bankrupting this state because of the corporate tax cuts, corporate giveaways to cronies and fat cats, and that sort of thing," Snowden told Mississippi business leaders at the Capitol last week. "And I want to remind you that MEC was very much engaged on these issues and properly so. We didn't do this because MEC asked us to; we did it because we're convinced that it's good policy." MEC supported the Legislature's biggest efforts to re-write state tax policy to benefit businesses, including the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, passed in 2016 only after Republicans had a supermajority in the statehouse. "We want you to remember that; we want you to preach that," Snowden said. The State's projected budget outlook is slim, and the majority of agencies are looking at budget cuts again in the coming fiscal year, as Republicans designed. The Taxpayer Pay Raise Act will divert more than $33 million from the general fund in fiscal-year 2019. That number will nearly triple in 2020 and grow to $416 million annually in a decade. Lawmakers will have to make difficult budget choices with less revenue this session as a result, and even the governor acknowledged that last week. "The challenges that the Mississippi Legislature has now are large," Gov. Phil Bryant told business leaders after discussing the Division of Medicaid's budget deficit and public education funding. Infrastructure Crisis Despite questions of the legislation's actual impact, the House passed three of five transportation-funding bills in the first week of the session. The legislation included one bill to set aside 50 percent of general-fund revenue that exceeds 2 percent growth for the state's roads and bridges. Another bill would enable the state and localities to issue bonds to help fund infrastructure in cities, counties and statewide. The third of the three bills that survived its first vote on the House floor, House Bill 359, was heavily debated in the House Transportation Committee. The legislation would create a moratorium on any new construction projects, essentially stopping the Mississippi Department of Transportation from starting construction on any projects for which it has not purchased the right-of-way. The group had to wait 20 minutes for the 100-page bill to be printed, and then Transportation Chairman Rep. Charles Busby, R-Pascagoula, and Vice Chairman Rep. Steve Massengill, R-Hickory Flat, asked the committee to support the measure. Busby said he was not expecting the meeting and was also not wearing a tie. He let Massengill take the lead in the meeting. Members of the committee were concerned about the bill, and they made several amendments. "If there was a desire to build new roads, they (MDOT) don't have the money to do it," Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, said. "So what we're doing here sounds good and looks good, and puts lipstick on a pig, so to speak, and we're the pigs. So it makes us look good, but as a matter of fact, we don't have any money to build roads—it's a red herring." Even Chairman Busby agreed, saying that all five of the measures the committees passed on Wednesday do not fix Mississippi's infrastructure problem. "Is it going to fix our roads and bridges? Is it going to provide additional funding for our roads and bridges that is desperately needed? It's not," Busby told reporters after the meeting. "But does that mean that this is the only swing at the ball that we're going to get? Absolutely not. The session is brand new; we've got lots of things in the hopper." By press time, two of the five transportation bills had passed to the Senate. Email tips to state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@
jacksonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @arielle_amara for #msleg updates.

    Jackson Free Press / 6 d. 14 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Dismantling the Last Debtors’ PrisonsDismantling the Last Debtors’ Prisons

    Corinth police officers arrested Sammy Brown on Dec. 1, 2017, and charged him with public drunkenness. Brown sat in jail for several days because he could not afford the $600 bond the Corinth Municipal Court required. Brown does not have a job; in fact, his only source of income is his disability checks he has received since he was a kid. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the MacArthur Justice Center filed a class-action lawsuit to get Brown and fellow inmate Brian Keith Howell out from behind bars. They sued the Corinth Municipal Court and Municipal Court Judge John Ross for operating a "debtors' prison" that violates the state's new rules of criminal procedure, the complaint says. Jail officials and Judge Ross told both men that they had to pay the court fees or else sit in jail until they could, even as the fee would build each day they were there, the complaint says. The Corinth Municipal Court forces those charged with crimes (even before they receive a hearing) to pay their bond fees or else sit in jail at a rate of $25 per day until they pay the fine in full, the complaint filed in federal court on Dec. 5 says. Other Corinth residents with fines have also received notices that say, "100 Today or Jail," the complaint shows. Home for Christmas The City of Corinth and attorneys representing the plaintiffs came to a joint interim agreement three days before Christmas Eve. The agreement says that the Alcorn County Correctional Facility, where Corinth Municipal Court sends men and women to be incarcerated, would release all people who are jailed for the failure to pay fines and fees before Christmas. Brown and Howell were released on Dec. 6, the day after SPLC and MacArthur attorneys filed the lawsuit. The municipal court cannot incarcerate any more individuals who are not able to pay their fees, and under the agreement, it must offer a payment program to those with outstanding fines and fees or allow them to perform community service instead of sitting in jail. The agreement also says the Corinth Municipal Court will not arrest any person who has an outstanding warrant. The joint interim agreement lasts for two months. The court has stayed proceedings in the case, and the parties are discussing the possibility of a settlement agreement instead of further litigation. The interim agreement does not mean that the Corinth Municipal Court or Judge Ross have admitted liability in the case, however. Howell, one of the lead plaintiffs in the case, sat in jail for about a month, and without the lawsuit would have missed Christmas, New Year's Day and several of his kids' birthdays. Corinth police officers pulled Howell over for not having a taillight, then arrested him for having no driver's license or insurance. Howell was at Walmart buying bread and peanut butter for his family, the lawsuit says. A week later, Howell pleaded guilty to the three traffic tickets, and Judge Ross assessed his fees at more than $1,000. Howell, who does not have steady employment, was in a terrible motorcycle accident two years ago. His leg had to be amputated, and he was in the process of applying for disability insurance when he was arrested. Howell could not afford his tickets, so he had to sit in jail and would still be there without the joint agreement. Changing Licensing Rules The State of Mississippi will stop suspending Mississippians' driver licenses due to the nonpayment of fines and fees this year. Sam Brooke, the deputy legal director of SPLC, said when a person fails to pay court fines or fees in Mississippi the court sends a note to the Department of Public Safety and then DPS suspends a person's license. There is no process in place for asking why a person did not pay the fees or fines. "(We had) decided to file a lawsuit about it, but we sat down and talked to the Department of Public Safety and the attorney general's office, and that led to a very positive conversation that resulted in them making changes in policy," Brooke told the Jackson Free Press. All other reasons that DPS can suspend licenses, from non-compliance with a child-support order to multiple DUIs or reckless-driving charges will remain in place. DPS hired staff to restore the licenses affected by the new rule change, however, and letters will go out early this year. There are approximately 100,000 drivers whose licenses are suspended in part or in whole because they could not afford their fees, Brooke said. The reinstatement does not relieve Mississippians of their obligation to pay back the fees, however. Mississippians with suspended licenses due to unpaid court fines or fees can expect one of three letters. Some will have their licenses reinstated outright. Others will be reinstated, but if their license is expired, they will have to go in to get a new one. DPS will waive the $100 reinstatement fee for those drivers whose licenses are expired under the new rule. Others, whose licenses are suspended for multiple reasons, will still have to clear the other charges before their licenses are reinstated. "The process of discontinuing suspension of licenses due solely to the nonpayment of fines, fees or assessments will remain in place until future significant developments occur," DPS Commissioner Marshall Fisher said in a press release announcing the rule change. Reform This Session? Both Brown and Howell might have avoided jail if Gov. Phil Bryant had not vetoed bipartisan criminal-justice reform legislation in 2017. House Bill 1033 would have made incarceration not automatic following the nonpayment of a fine, restitution or court costs. House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, has already revived the bill, which Bryant vetoed due to the measure that would have allowed certain habitual offenders early release. Gipson changed that part of the bill and brought it to his committee early on Friday, Jan. 5. The committee passed House Bill 387, which will become effective on passage, if it makes it out of the Legislature and clears the governor's scrutiny. "The bottom line is these individuals are coming back into society, and we want them to become productive members of society, get a job, become taxpayers, and it's important for them to be able to take care of their families," Gipson said. The bill will force courts to consider a person's financial ability to pay fines or court costs before throwing them in jail as well as allow parole earlier for certain non-violent offenders. House Bill 387 also creates the Sentencing Disparity Taskforce. Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 6 d. 15 h. 31 min. ago more
  • Fixing Jackson's $7 Million HUD DebtFixing Jackson's $7 Million HUD Debt

    A $7-million debt to the Department of Housing and Urban Development caused contention at the first Jackson City Council meeting of the new year, bringing recurring HUD headaches back to the forefront. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba sought permission from the council to execute a contract for a Chicago-based firm to conduct a market feasibility analysis of the city's downtown central business district. The study satisfies re-negotiated terms for the City to repay its $7-million debt to HUD. The council's deliberation underscored a desperate and seemingly unanimous desire to not only put Jackson first, but also to develop the capital city beyond downtown and Ward 7, which covers Belhaven and parts of Fondren. 'Baptized in the Fire' In 2008, the City entered an agreement with HUD to receive a loan up to $10 million to develop two hotels, parking facilities, office space and a mixed-use residential/retail component next to the then-new Jackson Convention Complex. The City drew $7 million, and principal payments on the loan were set to begin this August to HUD. However, through a "workout plan" between the City and HUD, the City is now required to conduct a feasibility and market analysis of the downtown area, develop a concept plan, hire a private developer, and construct the selected project by April 2022. "Once the project is completed, the City will continue repaying the loan by using revenue generated from rents and increased tax collections from the developed project," Director of Planning and Development Mukesh Kumar wrote in the workout plan. The mayor alluded to a rocky relationship between HUD and the City that Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps refers to as being "baptized in the fire." The mayor believes that through talks last year, HUD left pleased enough with Kumar to enter this workout plan. In November 2017, the City put out two request-for-proposals for that study and received four in early December. Kumar said he and a review committee selected Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners as its first choice. Kumar said the committee liked the Hunden plan's clarity. Hunden would help the City host public "kick-off" meetings with the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce and other entities for people to voice concerns and desires about the downtown area. Documents show that the City would pay up to $72,000 to Hunden Strategic Partners from Community Development Block Grant funds. To meet the CDBG's funding requirements, the City promises to benefit low to moderate income persons through job creation, the workout plan reads. Before the year ends, the City must conduct the market analysis, develop the concept plan of a project, and select a master developer. The mayor pointed out that if the council voted against this item, the city would have to repay the debt anyway, perhaps without getting much out of it. "If we don't do this agreement, we're faced with having to pay the piper with HUD," Lumumba said. "Which we may be faced with doing anyway, but at the sacrifice of our development ideas." The Council's Qualms The proposed market study item barely made it onto the floor at the Jan. 3 meeting. No one initially seconded it for it even to be discussed, so it died until the mayor petitioned the council to revisit it. Council members had concerns about paying a contractor from Chicago, as well as supporting more downtown development instead of projects in south or west Jackson. "What are they going to tell us about Jackson that we don't already know?" Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote asked early in the meeting. He voted against the item because he believes business schools in Jackson could enjoy the opportunity to do the market analysis and also because nobody was there from Hunden Strategic Partners to speak on the company's behalf. Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay suggested tabling the item so they could find a local provider, but she also said the council should "pause and do this right and find out what we need to do (downtown) and stop throwing money at it." Lindsay voted in support of conducting the study. Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks voted against the study and consistently opposes any project that hires companies outside Jackson. He also expressed concern with the fact that this would only help downtown. "It's problematic for me to keep supporting things just to be downtown and feasibility stuff downtown, when we've asked for consideration of doing a study in south and west Jackson," Banks said. The Ward 6 representative wanted to know if those areas could be included in this market study, but Kumar said it would not be possible, although he too wants to see development in "historically forgotten" areas of Jackson, as the mayor characterized them, he said. Kumar told the council that in his 13 years as a Jackson resident, he has never seen a feasibility study done for the downtown area, meaning this one would be long overdue so that they could make decisions based on facts. "So it's really important that we do understand what is happening in our downtown," Kumar said. "It is good for us to have a study that is publicly available and everyone can make better decisions with it." The mayor "cautioned" the council against using this particular item as a springboard for other issues because the City has to fix its relationship with HUD so it can continue to receive money in the future—and HUD wants an effective study of downtown. Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr. offered a student-debt analogy that brought the debate full circle and encouraged some laughs. "I majored in social studies, I've got $40,000 worth of student-loan debt still," Priester said. "I sure wish I could go back and major in computer science, but I majored in social studies, and I still have those student loans. "We majored in convention-center building; we still have convention-center loans." Comment on this story at jfp.ms/city. Email story ideas to city 
reporter Ko Bragg at ko@jacksonfreepress.com.

    Jackson Free Press / 6 d. 15 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Chris MyersChris Myers

    Architect Chris Myers, who is a principal at the Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons architectural firm, has worked on a number of major projects in Jackson. But one of the most recent and significant, he says, was his work on the recently opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History, which CDFL designed with Eley Guild Hardy Architects and Dale Partners Architects. "Working on the Two Museums these last three years has been the highlight of my career," Myers says. "It's been so fulfilling to work on something that represents such a big moment for our state, and my wife, Rachel, being hired as the museum's director last year made it even more special." Myers, 39, grew up in Batesville, Miss., and attended South Panola High School. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 2001. The last year of his architecture program took place in Jackson, which is what he says led to him move to the city and taking a job as an intern architect with CDFL after graduating. He became one of nine principals, or part owners, of the firm in spring 2017. Besides the city's high concentration of architecture firms, Myers decided to stay here for another reason: "... [W]hat really got me after being here was the art and creative scene in Jackson. I met so many artistic people doing so many things here, and I felt an energy I'd never experienced before that made me feel like this was the place I needed to be," the Fondren resident says. In 2005 he began volunteering with the annual Crossroads Film Festival, helping coordinate events, and also helped both the event and local artists with art direction and film selection. Myers served as co-director of the Crossroads Film Festival with Nina Parikh from 2011 to 2012. Myers met his wife, Rachel Jarman Myers, in 2008 at a Shelby Sifers concert at the now-closed 121 Studios in midtown. In 2009, the couple moved to Dallas, Texas. The couple returned to Jackson in 2010 and later married in 2012. They have a 2-and-a-half-year-old son, Eli. Myers said that the most important thing Jackson residents can do to improve their community is to be willing to take matters into their own hands whenever they can. "If you see a problem in your city, it's your job to make things happen," Myers says. "If you see an organization that needs help, use your talents to help and make your city a better place."

    Jackson Free Press / 6 d. 16 h. 26 min. ago more