September 14 - 20, 2011
September 14 - 20, 2011
10 NO. 1
contents FILE PHOTO
6 Cost of Teen Moms With one of the highest teen birth rates in the U.S., Mississippi counts the costs over a lifetime. CRISTEN HEMMINS
Photograph of Shirley Kyles by Tate Nations Design by Kristin Brenemen
Those for and against the “Personhood” initiative gather the troops and draw lines in the sand. CRAIG SCHWARTZ
leron jackson a chance to meet Pres. George W. Bush, who was looking for a person with a disability to accompany him when he signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act in 2008. Bush liked the language Jackson used in his essay and quoted from it in his speech. After that experience, Jackson began a youth leadership conference at home. Mark Smith, executive director of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities and one of Jackson’s greatest inspirations, directed that effort. Jackson’s quest for a quality education has met with great opposition over the years. He had to fight for that right. Still, at the Jackson State University graduation this spring, Jackson was not allowed to walk with his class. “It has definitely been a struggle,” he says. “So many people thought I couldn’t do it. Sometimes, they’d knock me down to where I didn’t want to get up. Now it’s my job to pick people up.” He thanks his family and his unshakable faith in God for all he’s accomplished. “All his struggles gave him the strength to do what he needs to do,” Thompson says. Jackson wants to study disability-rights law, and he intends to pursue a career in it while continuing to advocate for people with disabilities. “It goes to show that you should never tell anyone they can’t make it,” he says. “I’m a living testament that they can.” —Sadaaf Mamoon
30 ‘I’ll Never Grow Up!’ As Peter Pan, spry and spritely Cathy Rigby could be taking pointers from the boy himself.
46 Double Trouble With too many fall trends to fit in only five pages, find even more hot stuff here.
When people told Leron Jackson he couldn’t make it, he never believed them. “Anyone can do something to make a mark in this world,” says the 33-year-old Carriere native. Jackson has been living with cerebral palsy his whole life, but he hasn’t let his disability hold him back. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and correctional services from Jackson State University last December. As a teenager, Jackson began working for his mother, Hollia Thompson, now 50. She has worked for the Arc of Mississippi, an advocacy organization for citizens with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities, since the family moved to Byram in 1983. Today, Jackson does advocacy work for people with disabilities and is a motivational speaker with the organization. “Knowing about the things I went through inspires people to go out and do great things,” he says, “The work grew on me and made me the person I am today. I’m happy my mother got me out there.” Thompson saw that her son had a gift. “He has the ability to channel energy to help others,” she says, “I’ve never met anyone with more perseverance and sense of self.” Jackson learned self-advocacy at the National Youth Leadership Conference in 1997, where he has since served on the planning committee. His admission essay earned him
MEREDITH W. SULLIVAN
6 ............. Editor’s Note 6 ................... Slowpoke 7 .......................... Talks 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 28 ................... Hitched 30 ............... Diversions 31 ....................... Books 32 ..................... 8 Days 34 .............. JFP Events 36 ....................... Music 37 ......... Music Listings 39 ................. Astrology 40 ...................... Sports 42 ........................ Food 46 .......... Fly/Shopping
Girding for Battle
e k c e D e l Doub
s r u o T Bus
d r o f x In O
Driving tour of Oxford and Ole Miss with historian, Jack Mayfield. Tours include stops at two historic homes: the L.Q.C. Lamar House and Cedar Oaks Mansion. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 & under. Tour departs from the Skipwith Cottage Visitors Center on the Square, next door to City Hall. For more information, contact the Oxford CVB at 662-232-2477.
Tours are Scheduled for: Saturday•September 17•10am Sunday •September 25•1pm Sunday•October 16•1pm Sunday•November 13•1pm
September 14 - 20, 2011
Red White & Blue Fondren Renaissance Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi present
Symphony at Sunset Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 7PM Free Admission The Cedars | 4145 Old Canton Road
Jim Blackwood, Delta Royalty Co., Inc, Scanlon-Taylor Millwork Co., Stover Properties
Meredith W. Sullivan Former New Yorker Meredith W. Sullivan is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She spends her days dreaming about where to travel next. She is enjoying life in Fondren with her husband and Diggy dog. She coordinated and styled the Fall Style shoot.
Tate K. Nations Tate K. Nations is an interactive developer, photographer and videographer from Ridgeland who enjoys skateboarding. He photographed the cover and the Fall Style feature.
Sadaaf Mamoon Editorial intern Sadaaf Mamoon is a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She loves film scores, Greek mythology and naming inanimate objects. Her spirit animal is a Pink Fairy Armadillo. She wrote the Jacksonian.
Lacey McLaughlin News editor Lacey McLaughlin is a Florida native who enjoys riding her bike around Jackson. She is always on the hunt for news tips. E-mail Lacey@jacksonfreepress. com or call 601.362.6121 x. 22. She wrote Talks and a piece on Farish Street.
Andrea Thomas Advertising designer Andrea Thomas is a native of Ridgeland and is a recent Antonelli College graduate. She loves to sing, dance and write poetry in her free time. She helped lay out many pages this issue.
Diandra Hosey Bay Springs native Diandra Hosey played basketball at Jones County Junior College and Mississippi College. Her law degree is from Mississippi College School of Law. She is an associate with the law offices of Matt Greenbaum. She wrote a Sports story.
Sophie McNeil Sophie McNeil is a Madison native and journalism major at the University of Southern Mississippi. In her spare time, she loves being a barista and watching animal cop shows.
September 14 - 20, 2011
Ayana Taylor Kinnel
Ayana Taylor Kinnel is a graduate of Tougaloo College and Belhaven University. She teaches English at Antonelli College. She wrote Hitched for this issue.
by Ronni Mott, Managing Editor
Odyssey of Discovery
ack in July 2006, I found myself on the edge of a new life. Four months earlier, I’d been laid off from a job after nine years. I was at loose ends, not particularly thrilled about continuing in a profession I didn’t love any more, but not knowing what else I could do to support myself. One Sunday morning, I drove to church and found myself in the middle of a political rally. On one side of State Street was a small group of anti-abortion protestors. On the opposite side of the street, in my church’s parking lot, was a large group of pro-choice demonstrators. I found myself in familiar territory—political action. I felt a hot, vigorous surge of energy that I hadn’t felt in years and never expected to feel in Mississippi. Having come to adulthood in the Washington, D.C., area, a political event was always nearby, and I had done my share of marching and rallying. The following Monday, an acquaintance sent me a story he had written about the rally. He inspired me to write one myself. The JFP and I were about to intersect. I don’t remember when I picked up my first Jackson Free Press. It was probably at lunch downtown in the old Miller’s Grill on Capitol Street, a block off State. In 2002, when the JFP first started publishing, I worked on Amite Street. I’m sure I was looking for something to read while eating lunch. What I remember clearly was my reaction: “Wow!” I thought. “My peeps!” The JFP instantly felt like an old friend. Smart writing, a progressive attitude, a bit of snark, stories about things to do in the Jackson area that didn’t always involve churches, hospitals or the Junior League—all those elements combined into “home.” Five years later, I wanted to send the JFP my rally story. Terror. For about a day, sheer terror overcame me. I don’t remember how many times I tweaked the story. I had never published anything with my name on it. I must’ve had a hundred reasons not to send the story. I finally just clicked send—and immediately regretted it. “It sucks. What makes me think I can write? Why did I hit send?” My mind roiled. About 20 minutes later, I received a response from Donna Ladd: “Can we publish this?” I think it said. It was short—and fast. My heart was in my throat. “Of course!” I replied, as if I never had any qualms. But as soon as I hit send again, my mind chatter resumed. “What if my friends see the story? It’s too liberal for Mississippi. I should never give my opinion in a public forum. Someone will find me. They’ll blow my head off for being a commie pinko lib’rel.” It was bad. Within a half-hour, I was convinced I’d written my death warrant. When I was still alive a week later, I took it as a good sign. “Maybe I can write,” I thought. That one simple thought began an odyssey that finds me in 2011 as the JFP’s managing editor. What a ride it has been!
Brian Johnson was the managing editor the fall of ’06 when I began interning. I remember the first time he gave me a story to edit. A few sentences in, I asked him: “Just how extensively do you want me to edit this?” His reply was some form of “go for it,” and I did. Within a few short months, I discovered that I wasn’t too bad at this writing thing, decided that I was pretty good at this editing thing, and was convinced that I could make writing and editing into a new career. Not bad for a 50-year-old outside-agitator liberal broad from D.C., right? That spirit of discovery is one of the many things that I cherish about the JFP. Anyone who is willing to bring an open attitude, and is ready to learn and grow is welcome, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, skill level or any other demographic or limitation. Those who don’t want to learn or grow selfselect out of here pretty quickly. That’s not to say that the work isn’t hard. I work as hard today as I’ve ever done. But on the other side of hard work comes the contentment of seeing a new JFP “birthed” every week, and the satisfaction of having people I’ve never met say, “Nice job!” It’s humbling when someone says you influenced his or her thinking, a blessing to touch a life now and again. The Jackson Free Press celebrates its ninth birthday this week. I think we see a world full of wonder, yet we bring a fierce sense of independence balanced with healthy skepticism. The work we do, telling truth to power, is a team effort. If you’re part of the team, know that we can’t do it without you (yes, you). Led by our indefatigable Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd, the JFP has come through some interesting times. Donna sets the bar high. And just when it’s within reach, she raises it
again. It’s annoyingly predictable but never boring. This past year, News Editor Lacey McLaughlin has come into her own, writing several big, important stories, and Assistant Editor Valerie Wells is more than fulfilling her promise to be a vital part of the team. Donna, Lacey, Valerie and I (along with a handful of freelancers) were blessed to bring home regional and national honors in 2010. Publisher Todd Stauffer has done a remarkable job at keeping the JFP growing when the odds should be against us. Kimberly Griffin leads our determined and dedicated sales team (Ashley Jackson and Adam Perry) with aplomb, and in the art department, Kristin Breneman and Andrea Thomas deserve a heartfelt “thank you” for repeatedly doing the impossible with grace and good humor. In a triple role, Events Editor Latasha Willis is amazing, good at anything she set her mind to. We suspect our newest team members, Editorial Assistant LaShanda Phillips, Cub Reporter Elizabeth Waibel and Deputy Editor Briana Robinson will be as well. Bookkeeper Montroe Headd has been here longer than I have and does things I’ll never be good at. We recently welcomed distribution manager Matt Heindl who is passionately improving our circulation routes. And here’s a well-deserved shout out to Megan Stewart, Korey Harrion, Holly Harlan and Shannon Barbour and our small army of talented freelancers. This year, Adam Lynch and Ward Schaefer, both outstanding reporters, left the JFP for other opportunities. We wish them all the best. They deserve it. I’m proud to be part of the JFP and humbled by all the people I work with. Cheers. And here’s to the next nine years.
news, culture & irreverence
nstead of focusing on emotions, the Women’s Fund of Mississippi is highlighting the cost of teen births to advocate for comprehensive sex-education in the state’s public schools. Last week, the organization released the study, “Do You Know What You’re Spending On Teen Pregnancy in Mississippi?” showing that the state’s high teen birth rate costs taxpayers $155 million each year. In 2009, 7,078 infants were born to women under age 20 in Mississippi; one third of those births were to women under the age of 17, the Mississippi Economic Policy Center finds. The state ranked No. 1 in the nation for teen births in 2008 the Centers for Disease Control reports. The $155 million annual cost of those births includes lost tax revenue from lower wages among teen parents and their children, incarceration costs for sons of teen parents, and the cost of public assistance to teens and their families. The report suggests solutions for tackling the teen pregnancy rate such as schools teaching comprehensive sex education that includes information about contraceptives. The suggestions also include mentorships and more employment opportunities for youth. During a Sept. 7 media briefing, Sarah Welker, policy analyst for the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, and Rachel Canter, executive director of the educationadvocacy organization Mississippi First, urged school districts to teach comprehensive sex education.
Teen Births Have High Cost
Teen births costs Mississippi approximately $155 million per year.
Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill in March that requires Mississippi school districts to adopt either an abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sex-education policy. House Bill 999 gives school boards until June 30, 2012, to adopt a policy and requires them to implement it in their 2012-2013 curriculum. Canter criticized the bill, calling it restrictive on school districts. In each policy, the bill requires the districts to separate boys from girls, which could be problematic for schools to schedule and find multiple instructors. “Boys and girls need to be in conversa-
by Lacey McLaughlin tion about sex education in order for them to get the most out of the experience,” Canter said. Both policies prohibit teachers from demonstrating how to use condoms. “We know that of the programs that are effective, a big piece—although not the whole pieces—of them is how effectively we use condoms and contraceptives. That’s basically saying if you want to prevent pregnancy and STDs, use a condom but we can’t show you how to use them, so you have to figure it out on your own,” Canter said. Canter’s organization is helping school districts that adopt comprehensive sex education receive federal grant money. The federal government has allocated funds through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Personal Responsibility Education Program for comprehensive sex education. Mississippi is eligible for $2,051,711 for evidence-based teen-pregnancy prevention strategies in addition to curriculums for school districts and nonprofits. “Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, giving kids all the information that they need leads to abstinence more (often) than abstinence-only until marriage does, and that is the outcome we are looking for,” Canter said. The study highlights effective programs such as Operation Shoestring’s Youth Employment Program that works with local businesses to provide training and life skills to students at Lanier High School. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
ine years can hold a lot of memories for a lot of people. Here are some of our favorites from the JFP:
“That’s where I am at this stage in my life: pulling resources together so that I can make sure I try and make a difference before I die.” —Developer David Watkins about his vision for his Jackson developments.
• When the JFP broke the news that the feds had indicted Mayor Frank Melton (for something we discovered/broke in the first place.) • The first time James Meredith visited our office unannounced. • When Stephen Barnette temporarily “fixed” our power back in the early years so we could get the final pages to the printer (it was about 7 a.m.; all-nighters in those days!) • When a certain local young lawyer showing up as a robot at our Best of Jackson party on Millsaps Avenue. • When the Sonic BOOM drum line surprised the Best of Jackson party at the art museum by suddenly marching into the crowd. • The first BOOM fashion show with Jeff Good slinging drinks, David Waugh working the runway and an after-party featuring DJ Phingaprint. Priceless. • When we sent the interns up, up and away in a hot-air balloon. • What online poster Queen calls “life-changing dialogues” online at www.jfp.ms. “I’ve been in tears. I’ve laughed hysterically. I’ve been so pissed I had to log off. I’ve felt it all. This site tends to separate the weak from the strong, and I love it for just that.” • The “a-ha moment” of JFP graphic artist Andrea Thomas: “My first Best of Jackson, party was sooooo much fun! That was the night I really realized ‘This is where I belong!’ A company that can play just as hard as they work. Oh yeah. This is the place for me!”
Wednesday, Sept. 7 Astronomers discover a young supernova, or exploding star, only 21 million light years away from earth. Scientists say it will likely be the most-studied supernova in history. … Jackson warns residents near the Pearl River to prepare for flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee earlier in the week. Thursday, Sept. 8 President Obama pitches his American Jobs Act to Congress, framing it as a bipartisan initiative of tax breaks and hiring incentives. … Mississippi’s Supreme Court says it does not have the authority to determine the constitutionality of the Personhood and eminent domain ballot initiatives. Friday, Sept. 9 The Washington Post reports that Gov. Haley Barbour has joined the super PAC American Crossroads to raise funds for conservative Republican candidates in the 2012 elections. … A high school football player in D’Iberville dies after collapsing on the field. He is at least the seventh U.S. high-school athlete to die this summer. Saturday, Sept. 10 A truck bomb at an American base in Afghanistan kills two Afghan civilians and injuries nearly 80 U.S. military personnel. The Taliban claims responsibility. Sunday, Sept. 11 America marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 9/11 Memorial, where the World Trade Center once stood, opens to families of the victims. … Mississippians attend 9/11 services at Trustmark Park, the Mississippi Fire Academy and Mississippi College School of Law. Monday, Sept. 12 The Tea Party Express officially sponsors its first presidential debate. Eight Republican candidates participate and pick on Texas Gov. Rick Perry. … The U.S. Open fines Serena Williams $2,000 for berating a tennis umpire during the finals. Williams earned $1.4 million at the U.S. Open. Tuesday, Sept. 13 The Census Bureau announces that in 2010, the poverty rate went up for the third consecutive year. The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent. … MDOT announces a stretch of Interstate 55 south of Jackson will get emergency repairs. The road between Byram and McDowell Road is so bad it is no longer safe for the public, officials say. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com
Farish Street is named after Walter Farish, a freed slave who settled on the northeast corner of Davis Street and what is now Farish Street. Little else is known about him.
Dorsey Carson wants you to send him to serve in the Mississippi House. p 10
by Elizabeth Waibel
COURTESY PETERS REAL ESTATE
From Vacant to Vibrant
An old office building on State Street sat vacant for four years before developers turned it into the popular Fondren Corner, a model case of revitalization.
September 14 - 20, 2011
any people in Mississippi put significant effort into successfully reviving downtown areas and making them welcoming places. But to get downtown, people often have to drive past wornout, unoccupied strip malls overgrown with weeds. Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said most strip malls have a lifespan of only 15 to 20 years before the anchor store leaves and the community is stuck with a vacant building. Enter the Retail Center Revitalization Program, a pilot program from MDA to rehabilitate old strip malls and make them useful again. MDA will award grants of up to $50,000 to help community developers turn concrete eyesores into attractive, useful spaces. At a Sept. 7 summit to unveil the program, John Poros, director of the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University, said strip malls became popular after World War II, but now the United States simply has too much retail space, especially with e-commerce luring many people to shop online. Communities, he said, are left with abandoned buildings without a shred of landscaping except for the grass growing through the cracks in the pavement out front. Shoppers are looking for a pleasant experience, not just convenience, and that is what the Retail Center Revitalization Program aims to provide. The pilot program will award grants for about four projects to test its effectiveness. MDA is taking applications from “planning and development districts” that are working in partnership with local government and property owners. The total cost of funded projects must be more than $100,000, and the strip center must be located on a main thoroughfare leading into a downtown area. Speed said renovated buildings could have a range of possible uses other than retail, such as medical centers, municipal offices or police stations. At the summit, developers shared success stories and ideas for the types of projects MDA is looking for. Mike Peters, owner of Peters Real Estate, shared how he transformed
a vacant office building on State Street into Fondren Corner. The building now houses restaurants, boutiques, offices and apartments. Peters said cities should change zoning regulations to allow “mixed-use” developments that move living, recreational and workspaces closer together. That way, he said, people are in the area at all times, unlike a building of just offices that sits empty after business hours. “This building has a life that none of these uses would have on its own,” Peters said. “… There’s always something going on; there’s never a dead time.” Joy Foy, director of asset development at MDA, said a project like Fondren Corner would not qualify for the grant because Fondren is considered in town instead of on a road leading into a downtown area. But she wanted people at the summit to see how Fondren Corner went from being just an office building to housing different types of tenants. “You don’t necessarily have to rebuild what’s there; you can make it something new and something different,” she said. To foster vibrant retail areas, Poros said developers should build shopping areas with plenty of sidewalks, landscaping and even small parks, and should host events to make retail part of the community. Cities can also reduce the amount of land zoned for retail so stores are in more concentrated areas. The goal, Poros said, is to design for “park-once connectivity” so that shoppers can safely walk from store to store instead of having to get in their car and drive. Designing pedestrian-friendly retail areas helps businesses as well as customers hurting from high gas prices, Poros said. As people stroll past store windows, they get a better look at what businesses have to offer. But all of that involves planning and building shopping centers better. For information on the Retail Center Revitalization Program, email procurement@ mississippi.org or visit mississippi.org and click on Community and Asset Development, then Asset Development Programs. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Lacey McLaughlin
Cristen Hemmins is a rape victim who opposes the proposed Personhood amendment.
wenty years ago, when Cristen Hemmins was a student at Millsaps College, two teenagers pulled out a gun and abducted her in the campus parking lot. The young men raped her and shot her twice as she fled to a gas station for safety. Now 40, Oxford resident Hemmins is married with three children. The memory of the sexual assault wasn’t the first thing she thought about when she decided to speak out against the “Personhood” ballot initiative that would redefine “person” or “persons” in the Mississippi Constitution to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” But when she thought about her experience, she felt the need to share her story publicly. Had she gotten pregnant from the rape, she would have wanted the option of having an abortion. “I have an obvious reason to be so against it,” she said of the initiative. “I am not saying that everyone should do what I do. I just don’t want the government or Mississippi voters making that decision for me. This initiative is about so much more than abortion” Hemmins said voters need to know that the measure would carry implications for every mention of a person in state law.
“We are talking about big government—a massive expansion of the welfare state and entitlements spinning out of control,” she said. “… Can I claim a fetus as a dependent of taxes? Can I get welfare for my fetus if it’s a person?” Now that the Mississippi Supreme Court OK’d the initiative for the Nov. 8 ballot, advocates on both sides of the issue are gearing up for a battle to convince voters to vote for or against the initiative. The Supreme Court ruled in response to a lawsuit Hemmins and another Mississippi resident filed together with Jackson attorney Rob McDuff. Within hours of the court’s Sept. 8 ruling, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant held a press conference with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was in town for a “Yes on 26” campaign kick-off event that night. The “Yes on 26” campaign in support of the amendment formed in June and has five full-time staff members and several volunteers. The campaign is funded through private donors and anti-abortion organizations throughout the country. After the ruling, Mississippians for Healthy Families, a political action committee that formed on Aug. 23 in opposition to the initiative, made a Facebook page opposing the amendment. The PAC lists Jackson ACLU Executive Director Nsombi Lambright as its director, and Kay Scott, CEO of Atlanta-based Planned Parenthood Southeast, secretary. Bear Atwood, legal director for the Jackson ACLU said Mississippians for Healthy Families is meant to be a grassroots effort made up of several individuals and organizations instead of just one entity. The PAC sent out a press release on the day of the ruling saying that it would be working to inform voters over the next few weeks. “This initiative would drive up the cost of Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance and medical malpractice insurance, give legal protection to cloned embryos and end embryonic stem cell research,” a Missis-
sippians for Healthy Families release states. “While giving politicians the unprecedented intrusion into deeply personal medical and family decisions, this initiative would also change hundreds of laws and standards that have long been settled, including inheritance laws, end-of-life decisions, and standards of care for medical services.” Other Mississippi residents appear to have started another Facebook page against the measure: “No to Amendment 26.” Greg Sanders, deputy director of “Yes on 26,” said his organization has support from Personhood USA, Georgia Right to Life, Prolife Mississippi and Personhood Mississippi as well as churches and the American Family Association. The campaign’s website lists Bryant at the co-chairman. Sanders said that some of those organizations are funding his campaign, but could not say which ones. The campaign’s website has resources for churches and for supporters that include push cards, T-shirts, stickers and yard signs. “This is very much grassroots,” Sanders said. “We are using media with radio, Facebook and Twitter. We will also have billboards and at some point (will) have television ads.” Sanders said his campaign is focusing on simply defining the word “person” in the Constitution as beginning at fertilization. He said it would not prevent people from using condoms and “certain” birth-control pills. Morning-after pills would be illegal under the provision, he said. “If we have some sincere questions, we will address that,” he said. “We are not afraid in any way to look at unintended consequences.” Sanders would not say if supporters ultimately want the initiative to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to have a shot at overturning Roe vs. Wade, however the Personhood Mississippi website leaves no doubt, stating that if the amendment passes, “a legal challenge will be set up to the unconstitutional court ruling ‘Roe-v-Wade.’” Comment at www.jfp.ms.
6A0=3E84F A M A LC O T H E AT R E
South of Walmart in Madison
ALL STADIUM SEATING
Listings for Friday, Sept. 16 - Thursday Sept. 22 2011 Straw Dogs
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark R
I Don’t Know How She Does It PG13
Spy Kids: All the Time In the World (non 3-D) PG
3-D The Lion King G
The Lion King (non 3-D)
30 Minutes Or Less
Shark Night 3-D PG13 Seven Days In Utopia
Final Destination 5 (non 3-D) R Rise of the Planet of the Apes PG13 Crazy, Stupid, Love
GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE DAILY BARGAINS UNTIL 6PM Online Tickets, Birthday Parties, Group & Corporate Events @ www.malco.com
Preparing for Battle
Daily Lunch Specials - $9
Late Night Happy Hour Sun - Thur, 10p - 12a
Mu s i c L i s t i n g s SEP 14 | Shaun Patterson 9:30p SEP 15 | Brian Jones 9:30p SEP 16 | Perry & the Masons 9:30p SEP 20 | Open Mic w/ Kenny Davis & Brandon Latham 9p
by Elizabeth Waibel
Fire in His Belly COURTESY DORSEY CARSON
$9 Daily Lunch Specials Happy Hour Everyday 4p-7p
6270 Old Canton Rd. Jackson, MS 39211
Exploring the Human Experience
Dorsey Carson is challenging Bill Denny for Jackson and Madison’s seat in the state House of Representatives. Education is one of his key issues.
orsey Carson, 40, has lived in northeast Jackson most of his life. He calls himself one of the “floodplain kids,” youngsters who lived there during the Easter Flood of 1979. Carson graduated from Mississippi State University in 1993 and got his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1996. He has spent time in Atlanta and London, but returned in 2002 to Jackson where he lives with his wife, Susan Hays Carson, and 15-month-old daughter, Hays Elizabeth Carson. He is a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Bill Denny in the Nov. 8 election for the District 64 House seat.
English • History Philosophy and Religion Foreign Languages and Literature For current events and more, visit
September 14 - 20, 2011
What made you decide to run for office? I’ve always thought about public service and the timing for me seems to be right. … The deciding factor was after the second time our house was burglarized. We decided we weren’t moving. Our neighbor did. … I decided it was time to get the next generation of leaders in there to do something about it. When you have a 40 percent drop-out rate, you’re going to have a crime problem. … My opponent has voted consistently
against funding education. He was one of a handful of legislators who voted against the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and I don’t think his views reflect the views of our district anymore. The Parents’ Campaign gave him a 0 percent rating last year and a 46 percent overall. That’s one of the major issues—education. Have you worked in politics before? I’ve worked on campaigns over the years—(former Gov.) Ray Mabus, who has been a mentor of mine for a long time, as well as (former Gov.) William Winter. I worked on his campaign while I was in college. Through those two and also Dick Molpus and Mike Moore—all of them were strong proponents of education. If you look at surveys and polls, the No. 1 reason companies locate in one place over another is an educated work force. What do you think of the Democratic Party today? There’s a lot that needs to be changed with the Democratic Party. The people who know me know that I’m not a very par-
tisan guy. I believe in ideas, and I believe in solutions. Sometimes you have people in both parties who simply will vote along party lines regardless of whether it’s good for the people they represent or not. … I think there are some leadership voids in the Democratic Party. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle get in office and stay in office as if it’s their office, when in reality it’s the people’s office, and every elected official is just keeping the chair warm. … I think there are a lot of people in both parties who have simply been there too long, and they don’t have any fire in their belly or sense of urgency to find solutions for problems. … As far as I’m concerned, Jackson can’t stand another four years of heading in the same direction as it’s been going. A part of the problem is that my opponent breaks with the Jackson delegation on some pro-Jackson legislation, like payment in lieu of taxes. … We (in Jackson) are all happy to be the seat of government, but there’s no reason we should be paying for those services that are state services and pay for the infrastructure that is used only by the state. … If you can’t have a united Jackson delegation, you certainly can’t get some representative from Booneville or Gulfport to vote for your capital city. Something that is kind of a hot topic this year is the “Personhood Amendment.” What do you think about it? I think everyone has to vote their own conscience on that. I expect it to pass overwhelmingly. I do have concerns about the wording of it. I have concerns about the impact it could have on fertility. I’m concerned about the impact it may have on our community … about what it could do in terms of a really negative impact on reproductive services for doctors who help couples who are having trouble having babies. We have doctors that help in those services. They generally, in order to do so, take about eight different eggs and they fertilize them. What happens if then there are some fertilized eggs left over? I think there are
FROM OUR ROASTERY, TO YOUR CUP. voted best coffeeshop in jackson 2003-2011
by Elizabeth Waibel
Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, has been in the state Legislature since 1988.
tate Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, is a hard man to find. He doesnâ€™t seem to have a campaign website or someone to send out press releases. When I called the number listed on his official page at the Mississippi Houseâ€™s website, his wife was apologetic, but said he was a busy man and not interested in an interview. When a coworker gave me his cell phone number, he reiterated that he was busy and said he did not have time for an interview as he was in the middle of door-to-door campaigning. As much as I respect a man for putting in the legwork of door-to-door campaigning, when Iâ€™m on deadline, I do like for elected officials to at least let me make an appointment for a five-minute phone interview, so I called back another day. Denny was out campaigning again, but I got in one question before he said someone was coming up the street to talk to him, and he had to hang up. Itâ€™s too bad. Dennyâ€™s opponent, Dorsey Carson, told me Denny had voted against the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and I wanted to ask him why. I also wanted to ask him about payment in
lieu of taxes and whether the state should pay the city for the infrastructure it uses in and around state-government buildings. Iâ€™m told he voted against that as well, but I havenâ€™t been able to get him on the phone long enough to confirm it. For now, I can tell you that Denny has been in the Legislature since 1988, he went to the University of Maryland, and he wants you to re-elect him. If you are re-elected, what are your priorities for next term? Economic development, jobs and crime, and just put all those in a nutshellâ€” Iâ€™ve been working on those for years. One thing Iâ€™m particularly interested in â€Ś we donâ€™t have (a charge for) attempted murder in the statute. If you go out and shoot somebody and put five bullets in them and they live, the most you can be charged with is aggravated assault. So, being tough on crime and balancing the budget. â€Ś (Another priority), of course, is going to be no taxes, no increase in ad valorem taxes in our districts. Iâ€™m most interested in economic development. Weâ€™ve had the House stymieing the governor for years. â€Ś We intend to put a Republican in charge, in the speaker of the House, and then balance the House. What Billy McCoy has done for the past eight years has just disenfranchised about half the House. He doesnâ€™t have any Republicans in the House in chairmanships, â€Ś so as a result of that, we donâ€™t have any power in getting a bill out of committee, and thatâ€™s the main reason Iâ€™m running. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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You talk a lot about education. What do you think are some specific things you can do to improve education? No. 1 is that we need early childhood education. We are the only state in the South that doesnâ€™t have some form of early childhood education. Studies show that 75 percent of cognitive development occurs between the ages of 3 and 5. â€Ś We canâ€™t afford to have a whole generation of 3- and 4-year-olds that are glued to the TV instead of developing their skills at an early age. â€Ś Another one that is specific is that we
You mentioned crime earlier. What can you do to reduce crime rates? Education is the most important thing, and keeping teenagers in your school system instead of dropping out. But yes, there are other things we can do. â€Ś Hinds County has (high-tech DNA equipment), whereas with JPD they do not run (fingerprints) through the system for property crimes. Those are things that need to be addressed and even to the extent that we need to set up a commission to study â€Ś consolidating JPD into the Hinds County Sheriffâ€™s Department. â€Ś Those are things that we need to look at and study carefully, and see if it makes sense in our community. I think everybody wants a more efficient and more effective police force. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
OK, this is another controversial topic. What do you think about voter ID? Is my opponent even going to answer these? Iâ€™m going to tell you heâ€™s not. Youâ€™re asking me about two things I have no control over. â€Ś Those two issues are going to be decided by the voters, and everyoneâ€™s going to have to vote their own conscience. Those will be taken off the legislative agenda, because theyâ€™re already going to be decided. For me, I want to focus on things I can do.
need vocational training. We have gotten so centered on college preparatory education that we are losing a number of students whose talents and interests are not in that areaâ€”that are not good in math or not good in scienceâ€”but they do have interests in construction or auto mechanics. Weâ€™ve got to put them on a career path.