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June 27 - July 3, 2012
1 0 N O . 42
contents COURTESY JPS
6 School Daze Jackson Public Schools schedules a public forum and a vote on the budget, and installs new officers. COURTESY STRANGE MUSIC
Cover photograph by Virginia Schreiber
Derived from his rapid-fire delivery, some say rapper Tech N9ne spits like a machine gun.
35 Waking Up An adaptation of a 19th-century German play is still appropriate today for coming-of-age youth.
43 Don’t Bug Me When it comes to garden pests and organics, it’s wise to keep in mind that some bugs are lovable.
the kids and teaching them about even ordinary gardening tasks. He fondly recalls a recent day with the second graders at G.N. Smith. “I was just weeding with them, talking with them about their lives (and about) why we were doing what we were doing,” he says. He told the kids: “You have to get the whole root. You can’t just take the top off, even though it’s easier.” Recently at G.N. Smith, Downey participated in the school-wide field day where the students played games, listened to music and ate lunch outside. Downey made salsa with foods from the school garden and served up with his home-cooked collard greens. He says the kids called the food “awesome.” Most early mornings, Downey goes to the schools to help student and parent volunteers tend the gardens. In return for their work, volunteers can take produce home. He sees the gardens as places “where kids have real opportunity to make healthy choices,” Downey says. By teaching the children how to plant and care for their own produce, they can have access to healthy food right in their back yards, he says, something that’s especially important for people who may not have transportation to grocery stores. Ultimately, though, Downey wants the kids to remember just one thing: “Eat more vegetables,” he says. —Vergie Redmond
Graham Downey came to Jackson with a mission: to make healthy options for kids in Mississippi more accessible. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Eat healthy,’” Downey says. “It’s another thing to provide kids with healthy options.” After graduating in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, Downey joined FoodCorps. The New York City-based non-profit assigns service members to work at sites in one of 10 states for one- to four-year stints. The members engage the community, and provide access to and knowledge about healthy food. Downey, 22, asked to work with the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity in Jackson. He wanted to explore the cultural and social differences between our state and his hometown of Falls Church, Va. More importantly, Downey wanted to get a closer look at the underlying problems of obesity in Mississippi. To help combat the problem, he works closely with students, faculty and staff at three Jackson elementary schools: G.N. Smith, Watkins and Green. Downey spends one day a week at each school teaching staff and students about healthy eating. He helped them create gardens to grow produce such as onions, collards and cilantro. The students are responsible for maintaining the crops they plant. Downey says he enjoys interacting with
COURTESY ACTOR’S PLAYHOUSE
4 ..............Editor’s Note 4 .................... Sorensen 6 ............................ Talk 10 ........................ Tech 12 ................... Editorial 12 ........................... Day 13 ................. Opinion 14 ............ Cover Story 28 .............. Diversions 30 ...................... Music 31 ....... Music Listings 34 ........................ Film 35 ......................... Arts 36 .................... 8 Days 37 ............. JFP Events 40 ..................... Sports 42 ................ Astrology 42 .................... Puzzles 43 ................. Organics 45 .................. Hitched 46 ......... Fly Shopping
Tom Ramsey Underground 119 chef and food writer Tom Ramsey is a former investment banker, tobacco executive and lobbyist who writes poetry, runs with the bulls and has produced an album or two. He wrote the cover story.
Genevieve Legacy Genevieve Legacy is an artist and writer who relocated from New York last August. She lives in Brandon with her husband, and son and one of Mississippi’s laziest dogs, a piebald hound named Dawa. She wrote a theater piece.
Tam Curley Tam Curley loves telling about her move from liberal California to begin a new life with her hubby and daughter in conservative Mississippi. She is an Arkansas native and enjoys time with her two lab puppies. She wrote a food feature.
Ben-cuda Stowers Editorial intern Ben-cuda Stowers is a recent high-school graduate who plans to attend Jackson State University to major in business and marketing. Stowers enjoys long runs at midnight on the west side of Jackson. He wrote a theater feature.
Vergie Redmond JFP editorial intern Vergie Redmond studies Journalism at Belhaven University. She plays video games and watches anime in her spare time. She was sad when Harry Potter ended. She wrote the Jacksonian.
Casey Purvis Casey Purvis is a Fondrenite who loves planting flowers and watching birds in her backyard. She is owned by Phoebe, a 9year-old Lhasa apso. She works as a nurse in one of the local hospitals in her spare time. She wrote a book review.
Richard Coupe Richard Coupe, avid fan of the beautiful game, husband, brother and father of four, is still wondering what he wants to be when he grows up. He wrote a Hitched feature.
June 27 - July 3, 2012
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time, she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
by Kathleen Mitchell, Features Editor
Beer Me, Mississippi
love beer. I like the good stuff—Guinness, Sierra Nevada, Abita and even certain intense IPAs—but I have half a case of Coors Light in my fridge as I write this, and I’m not ashamed of that. Different beers for different occasions. I’ve tried a lot of beers over the past halfdozen years. When my family or my husband and I go on vacation, local breweries are a must, where we can sample more distinctive, creative, flavorful brews. You know, the ones illegal in Mississippi. At least, until now. To celebrate the efforts of those who managed to convince the Mississippi Legislature to up the legal alcohol content in beer, the Jackson Free Press invited the Raise Your Pints crew to a craft beer tasteoff with some of our staff. It was a great reminder of how people can become fast friends over a pint or two. After the brew was consumed and the empty bottles cleaned up, I started thinking about Mississippi’s issues with booze. When I was a senior at Corinth High School, our county, Alcorn, put liquor up to a vote once again. It was (and—spoiler alert—remains currently) a dry county for liquor; beer is available, just not on Sundays. A petition went around prior to the official vote to gauge interest; if it got enough signatures, the vote would go on. The required number of signatures was reached, the vote occurred, and it failed. This is no surprise for the state of Mississippi. What did shock me, however, was the local megachurch whose officials somehow got their hands on the petition. One Sunday in church, they read out every member of their congregation who had signed the list to publicly shame them. If only those church officials and parents knew what their teenage sons and daughters were up to on the weekends. It was the hypocrisy of that situation that made me realize that Mississippi has the unhealthiest relationship with alcohol of any state I’ve encountered—and I lived in Utah for 14 years of my life. You can find all the dirty details in our cover story, but the gist of it seems to be that Mississippi lawmakers and heads of society want alcohol limited and banned—until, of course, they or their children are caught with it. I had my first taste of alcohol when I was in the second grade, while preparing for First Communion. My parents gave me a tiny sip of wine at dinner one night, to prepare me for what the wine at Mass would taste like. I found it bitter and disgusting, and during my First Communion ceremony, I only pretended to drink from the cup (sorry, Monsignor Bob). Fast-forward eight or nine years, and I had my first legitimate experience with booze (sorry, Mom and Dad). At the cast party for a community theater play I was in, I got tipsy after an older cast member shared her drinks with me (I’m sure they were Smirnoff
Ice or something equally terrible—sorry, taste buds). Like many high schoolers, I experimented with alcohol off and on from there on out. Unlike the parents of many high schoolers I knew, my parents faced the fact that I drank head-on. One morning, after I came home from a dance the night before with vodka on my breath, my mother sat me down at the kitchen table and asked me point-blank if I had started drinking. She told me two things. One, that she trusted me. And two, if I ever drank and drove, or got in a car with someone drunk,
Thinking the law is going to teach your children for you is just lazy parenting. she would kick my ass and then ground me for, essentially, the rest of my life. My parents kept their heads out of the sand. They treated me like an adult. Now, I was still young and stupid, and I’m sure I toed that line a little more closely than I should have from time to time, but I valued their trust and respect, and I drank more responsibly because of it. With Corinth in a dry county, many parents felt their children were safe from the demon brew of alcohol simply because it was illegal and inaccessible. (Because no teenager has ever had a fake ID or carried beer across county lines, right?) I cannot begin to tell you how false that was. It was those parents—the ones who
stood up in church and condemned their fellow parishioners for signing a petition, the ones who believed their children would never get drunk or party on the weekends—it was those parents whose kids were often the most irresponsible. Thinking that the law is going to teach your children for you is just lazy parenting. Moreover, it’s an attitude that is keeping Mississippi from its potential, economically and beyond. The new higher-alcohol beer law, and another, less-talked-about bill that allows municipalities to vote on allowing alcohol in restaurants independent of the dry counties they are located in, are a step in the right direction. It’s a step toward boosting tourism in our state. It’s a step toward people spending their money in Mississippi, rather than driving across the borders to Louisiana or Tennessee. Whew, where was I? Oh yes, beer. All June we have been celebrating Beer Month here at the JFP, leading up to this, the first ever summer food and beer issue. It’s been a hard week, between the craft beer taste-off and a summer food cookout for the cover shoot, but someone had to do it. So my message to each of you reading this: If you are a teenager or a 20-something, don’t be an idiot; plan for a designated driver. If you are a parent, don’t be oblivious; don’t pretend that teens aren’t going to drink if they want to. Don’t hide behind archaic laws—talk to your kids. If you are a craft-beer virgin, try one! And if you are anyone looking to enjoy a cold brew with a new friend, meet me downtown or in Fondren this July. And cheers! Follow Kathleen @JxnKathleen on Twitter and email her feature ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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news, culture & irreverence
Friday, June 22 The Mississippi Center for Legal Services Corporation and Hinds County Human Resources Agency host a legal services workshop to inform Jacksonians about acquiring social security benefits and dealing with wills and trusts. â€Ś A jury finds retired Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 counts of sexual assault. The 68 year old awaits sentencing. Saturday, June 23 The 2012 edition of â€œWhoâ€™s Who in Black Mississippi,â€? introduced at a reception in Jackson, celebrates the achievements of more than 950 influential African Americans in the state. Sunday, June 24 James Stern, former cellmate of convicted klansman Edgar Ray Killen, says he will turn over the land Killen gave to him to the government can look for human remains. â€Ś Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood becomes Egyptâ€™s first democratically elected president.
June 27 - July 3, 2012
Monday June 25 Hinds County authorities arrest David â€œMeatheadâ€? Wilson, allegedly a major drug distributor, in Edwards. â€Ś The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizonaâ€™s immigration laws overturned three of four provisions of the law. They deferred a ruling on the controversial â€œshow me your papersâ€? law.
Tuesday, June 26 The Jackson Public Schools board holds a public hearing regarding its upcoming multi-million dollar budget plan. â€Ś NBC makes public specific allegations of sexual abuse from Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sanduskyâ€™s adopted son. Get daily news updates at jfpdaily.com.
JPS Budget Hearing; New Officers
by Jacob Fuller
ackson Public School Board held a the city for next year, down from the $87.3 A few days earlier, JPS Board members public hearing Tuesday to discuss the million they received for the 2011-2012 followed tradition by promoting officers to proposed budget for the upcoming school year. the next ranking office. They selected formerschool year Tuesday in the schoolThe district will lower operation costs vice president Monica Gilmore-Love as new board meeting room at 621 South State St. from $72.5 million to a little over $69 mil- board president. They also picked Linda Rush Prior to the meeting, the agenda lion to help offset the $2.3 million it needs as vice president and Tim Collins as secretary. showed that the Gilmore-Love, board will vote mother of three JPS on the budget students, represents during their regWard 1 on the board. ularly scheduled She said it has been meeting, immethe boardâ€™s tradition to diately following promote the previous the public hearyearâ€™s officers to the ing. JPS plans next-highest office. to use just over â€œI was serving $206 million as vice president,â€? during the upGilmore-Love said â€œIt coming year. was suggested by one The Jackson Public Schools board selected three new officers last week: (left to right) By law, JPS board member that we Monica Gilmore-Love, president; Linda Rush, vice president; and Tim Collins, secretary. must submit a just simply allow the budget proposal vice president to move to the city council for approval by July 1. to pay on a pair of bond issues they received into the next role. I anticipate (that) will be The city then has until September to set the in 2006 and 2008. the case with the next vice president when my tax rate as needed to fit the budget. To cut costs, JPS has eliminated 80 term is up, unless another proposal comes up The budget plan includes JPS cutting non-instructional jobs in the district. Miller for a president or another office.â€? operation costs so the district can put more said JPS has streamlined its administrative Board member Dr. George Schimmel money toward paying off debt, including office, reconfigured its curriculum and cam- said moving officers up in rank each year was $150 million in bond issue debt. pus enforcement offices and re-bid multi- a tradition â€œfor a long time.â€? He said he has no Sharolyn Miller, JPSâ€™ chief financial year contracts, such as site care and waste problem with the system and said the focus of officer, said June 14 that the school board management. The plan does not include plans to request about $86.1 million from laying off any teachers. JPS, see page 7 COURTESY JPS
Thursday, June 21 Bello Nock walks a 360-foot high by 360-foot long tight wire suspended near the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi. â€Ś The U.S. Senate passes a farm bill that reduces premium subsidies for farmers with adjusted income greater than $750,000 and cuts $4.5 billon of food stamp spending, cutting a total of $23.6 million from current federal spending.
Mississippi re-legalized beer after the Prohibition in 1934, but liquor remained illegal until 1966. That year, the Hinds County sheriff busted up a Mardi Gras party at the Jackson Country Club, where liquor was being served. As a result of the high-profile raid, state lawmakers let individual counties craft their own liquor laws, which results in todayâ€™s mish-mash of wet and dry counties.
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Wednesday, June 20 Mississippi executes Gary Carl Simmons Jr. for the murder and dismemberment of Jeffery Wolfe. Simmons is the sixth inmate executed in the state this year, the highest number since 1956.
Central Mississippi Tea Party President Janis Lane questions giving women the right to vote. p 9
he Mississippi Legislature recently passed a bill that places heavy restrictions on abortion clinics and may cause the only abortion clinic in the state to close. What are your thoughts on the clinicâ€™s potential closing and why?
â€œTotally for it. I couldnâ€™t be any more for it.â€? â€”Varner Stewart, 66, Jackson â€œPersonally, (Iâ€™m) pro-life, (but itâ€™s) not necessarily one of my biggest issues.â€? â€”Jim Cunningham, 28, Jackson â€œWomen should have the right to choose. Attacking a clinic on one thing that it offers isnâ€™t right.â€? â€”Lindsay Parsens, 22, Columbia, Mo. â€œ(Iâ€™m) not particularly for abortion, so I think that itâ€™s fine.â€? â€”Chrishawna Griffin, 18, Jackson
news, culture & irreverence
JPS, from page 6
the board needs to be moving every JPS student to their highest level. A 20-year veteran of the environmental consulting business, Gilmore-Love attended Alcorn State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Mississippi State University. As a volunteer, Gilmore-Love served on the Parent Teacher Student Association at McWillie and Power APAC elementary schools and Chastain Middle School. She said it is the desire of the school board to move JPS forward in a positive way, including improving the academic performance of all students. To do so, officials, administration and teachers need to reach out to parents.
“We need to be more considerate of how we can communicate with those parents when needed, whether that be by email, text or through visiting their homes, if they will allow,” Gilmore-Love said. “It is worthwhile and beneficial to both the parents and the child to be an engaged and an involved parent in your school. ” The School Board, along with new Superintendent Cedrick Gray, wants to see the school district move forward technologically and take advantage of new ways of communication, such as Skype, Gilmore-Love said. The goal for the board, Gilmore-Love said, is to help JPS become a district that our community and state look up to as a leader in education. Vice President Rush represents Ward 6.
She is married to Dr. Timothy Rush and has two children. She has served as an advocate of PTSA for 20 years and currently serves on the association at Siwell Middle School. JPS Executive Director of Media Relations Peggy Hampton said Rush and Collins declined a request for an interview. Hampton said they both prefer to defer any questions to Gilmore-Love, the board president. Rush represents Ward 6 on the board. She is a 20-year advocate for the Parent Teacher Student Association and a member of the Jackson State University Alumni Association. She is a member of the Siwell Middle School PTSA. Rush is also the youth director at College Hill Baptist Church. She is married to
Timothy W. Rush and has two children, Tim II and Isaiah. Secretary Collins, executive director of the Mississippi Housing Partnership, represents Ward 5 on the school board. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and master of public policy and administration from Jackson State. He serves on the Jackson diocese of the Governance Council of Catholic Charities, Inc., the board of directors for Partners to End Homelessness and the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi. A 2000 graduate of Leadership Jackson, Collins is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and the North Jackson Rotary Club. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Jacob Fuller at email@example.com.
Hinds EDA Says No to Garage by Jacob Fuller
“It’s very strange to me that (Wallace) would send the recommendation after we met (his) deadline with the documents, then (he sent his) letter to Robert Graham,” Shepherd said. “Then, after the fact, (he) called me to say
COURTESY FULL SPECTRUM NY
ment with Full Spectrum South. The JFP has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Hinds County for a copy of Wallace’s letter to the board of supervisors. The parking garage, if built, will be the city’s first automated, robot-controlled parking garage. Patrons would be able to drop their automobile off in the lobby of the garage, where a laser-guided robotic platform would take their vehicle to a parking space inside the garage. Shepherd said this type of garage saves money by not requiring energy to power lights and air conditioning. It also reduces crime, because no one would actually enter the garage. Full Spectrum reduced the size of their original plans for 1822 Square earlier this year, after investors expressed concerns with the feasibility of such a large project. The original plan for the parking garage included more than 800 spaces. The plans for 1822 Square include Terre Verte, a 169,500-square-foot building with 129 residential units and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space; The Legacy, a 128,000-square-foot office building that will include another 37,350 square feet of retail space; and the parking garage. The funds for the buildings’ construction are already in hand, Shepherd said, so if the county approves the bond issue, construction will quickly commence. With Wallace, Graham and Fisher opposed to funding the garage, though, approval does not seem likely. Construction crews will build the underground parking garage first, which should take about 12 months. Full Spectrum estimates the Terre Verte residential building will take between nine and 12 months to complete, and The Legacy office building will take between 14 and 16 months. If construction begins in August, as planned, 1822 Square should be a reality by summer 2014. Comment on this story at www.jfp.ms. Email Jacob Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Old Capitol Green hit a major roadblock last week.
the board wants to meet with me. Well, (they) should have met with me before (they) made that decision.” Shepherd said he and other Full Spectrum South representatives will meet with the Hinds County Economic Development Authority at its monthly meeting July 25. He said if the Board of Supervisors sides with Wallace’s recommendation, Full Spectrum will talk with its investors, who have funded parking garages for the company in the past. In March, Full Spectrum’s Chief Operating Officer Carlton Brown said tenants had signed letters of intent to fill about 80 percent of the development’s office building 70 percent of the proposed retail space. It appeared the project only needed garage funding to get started. Full Spectrum representatives seemed confident they would get the funding until the latest development with the county. Wallace couldn’t further divulge his reasons for not recommending the project because of a confidentiality agree-
he Hinds County Economic Development Authority soured the previously ecstatic attitude of developers at Full Spectrum South last week with news that it will not recommend the county move forward with helping fund the Old Capitol Green project. Full Spectrum South asked the Hinds County Board of Supervisors in May to request a $17 million bond from the Mississippi Development Authority to fund a 480-space parking garage. Full Spectrum South plans for the parking garage to be the first phase of an $83.7-million mixed-used development called 1822 Square on the Old Capitol Green on Commerce Street. Blake Wallace, HCEDA executive director, said June 22 that he sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors in which he recommended that the county not request the funds for the garage because the project lacks financial strength. A day earlier, District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham said he had not received a recommendation from Wallace, but that he planned to go along with Wallace’s recommendation when it came. Graham said he didn’t think Full Spectrum South had provided the financial information the county requested. While that was the case at one point in May, Wallace said the county has now received the requested information. “I think we got more than enough to make the determination that we made,” Wallace said. District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher said he will side with Wallace’s recommendation. He said he is not happy with how long it took Full Spectrum South to respond to the board’s requests for information. “I’ve been having doubts about this project for months,” Fisher said. “(We’ve) given them what I thought was every opportunity, what I hope will be opportunity to do the things that they needed to do. To date, (I) haven’t been pleased with their lack of response, and I haven’t been pleased with the information that they’re providing. “This is a huge project. For us to have this much trouble getting the very basic of information from them is not a good sign.” Malcolm Shepherd, development director for Full Spectrum South, said Monday that he had heard that Wallace recommended the county not go forward, but had not seen a copy of the letter.
Is Mississippi in ‘Play’? KRISTIN BRENEMAN
will have to find ways to tamp down drilling costs before they start making real profit. Major players in other oil-shale plays all have substantial acreage positions in southwest Mississippi, including Encanca, Devon Energy, Goodrich, EOG Resources and Indigo Minerals. These companies have been busy Hydraulic fracturing—”fracking” or “fracing”—is a process in getting leases for minwhich water, sand and toxic chemicals are injected into dense eral rights from Misunderground geological formations to release gas or oil. In sissippi residents in response to critics from environmental and citizen groups, the U.S. EPA recently imposed regulations on frackers. Amite and Wilkinson counties. But sorting through n August 1987, Louisiana State University Mississippi’s complex mineral-leasing laws has geologists reported that a rock formation proved a challenge for many landowners. An called Tuscaloosa Marine Shale could online forum for mineral-rights owners in contain as much as 7 billion barrels of oil. Amite County is full of people who are conWriting in LSU’s Basin Research Institute Bul- fused, at best, and at worst, highly skeptical of letin, researchers reported the shale play could the oil companies. contain “a potentially significant commercial “We need to get a group together and oil reservoir” underneath the Mississippi- hire a lawyer,” writes one woman on the Amite Louisiana boundary including southwestern County Oil and Gas Discussion forum. “This counties in Mississippi westward through cen- is far too complicated for us.” tral Louisiana to the Texas border. Another man, who describes himself as At the time, the fact that so much pre- 80 years old and in poor health, said mineralcious crude was locked away in dense shale rights owners are “being jerked around” by seemed moot. There was no practical method landmen. In the parlance of the minerals busito go about getting it out of the ground. But ness, landmen are intermediaries the oil comfast forward to the present day, and the com- panies hire by the day to track down people bination of an oil-friendly political climate who hold mineral rights and negotiate a deal and new extraction technologies—namely, to lease the rights for the companies. horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or Typically, the companies pay an upfront “fracking”—might put the TMS in play. “bonus payment” to lease minerals for three “I categorize this play as an emerging years, and most agreements include the option play,” said Kirk Barrell, president of Amelia to extend the lease for two years. In addition, Resources, a The Woodlands, Texas-based ex- mineral owners receive a royalty for the oil ploration and production company. “It’s still or gas pumped out of their property, usually economically unproven.” about 20 percent of revenues from the well. Fracking has spurred booms in other Barrell suggests that landowners consult parts of the country while also generating an attorney before they sign a deal with anycontroversy. The process involves injecting one for their mineral rights. Walking people high-pressure water, sand and toxic chemicals through the process, he said, is not the oil deep into the group to break apart dense rock company’s job. formations to release gas and oil trapped be“They’re making an offer for a financial tween the layers. Environmental and public transaction, so it’s not really their obligation to health concerns that fracking raised prompted educate the landowner,” he said. the U.S. Environmental protection agency to Dan Turner, spokesman for the Missisrelease rules in April that limit air pollution sippi Development Authority, said the agency emitted during the drilling process. held an informational meeting with officials in Despite the concerns, Marcellus Shale Liberty about what the oil boom could mean has brought thousands of jobs to the eastern for development in the county in direct and U.S. and millions of dollars in investment. ancillary investments. North Dakota and areas of Montana had sim“People who come in work in the oil and ilar experiences with the Bakken formation’s gas industry have to find some place to eat estimated 18 billion barrels of reserves. and stay,” Turner said. “If this turns out to be Because TMS is a relatively new play, oil everything we hope it is … it could be a real companies need to conduct more testing be- economic jolt.” fore they can really assess its full potential. Early Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. signs are encouraging, Barrell said, but drillers Nave at email@example.com.
Coming Soon June 27 - July 3, 2012
Freckle Belly IPA and Kudzu Porter
by R.L. Nave
by R.L. Nave
‘Christian Rednecks and Patriots’: A Tea Party Chat
Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party, said conservatives want America to return to its roots of “limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility.”
ver heard the expression “Where you have three rabbis, you have three opinions”? It’s kind of the same thing with members of the Tea Party. Some people who align themselves with the movement that congealed in 2009 and 2010 profess to be political middle-of-the-roaders with allegiances to no party, while others are dyed-in-the-wool cultural conservatives. Nationally, the Tea Party takes credit for giving Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Closer to home, the Mississippi Tea Party claimed victory when Phil Bryant became the state’s first “Tea Party governor” last fall. Given the party’s influence, we recently met with Central Mississippi Tea Party president Janis Lane, a retired marketing manager who resides in Byram, along with Mark Mayfield, a real estate attorney who lives in Ridgeland, and Kim Wade, a Nation of Islam member-turned conservative radio talk host, to talk about Mississippi politics, 2012 presidential race and America’s wrong turns. Are Tea Partiers still outraged? Kim Wade: When you say you saw this (outrage) at the beginning, are you sure you saw it or did you just read reports? So much of that stuff, we believe if there were any indications of (in on) posters and flyers and banners, they were brought in by instigators. I remember those early town-hall meetings on the Affordable Care Act. People were pretty fired up. Janis Lane: At the time, we were facing the people making these laws that we did not support, and when we were in those town-hall meetings, we’re speaking to our representatives. … We may be members of a Tea Party outside, but we’re there as individuals to confront that lawmaker with the very poor deci-
sions he is making or she is making and that is our right as citizens of this country. … We have taken the wrong path, and it’s been on the wrong path for many years now. This is not something new. Mark Mayfield: It’s not political, either. It’s not Republican or Democrat(ic). It’s a wrong turn. Our righteous indignation is against both parties. So is the Central Mississippi Tea Party primarily interested in state politics? Lane: Last year we were interested in state politics because that was the focus. This year, we have a national election, and we are interested in who the next president will be, who the next president will choose as his running mate, who the next president will choose as his cabinet members. How would you like federal candidates to engage the Central Mississippi Tea Party? Mayfield: We think conservative constitutional principles have worked for the last 200-plus years in America, and they have provided the most opportunity for hope, growth and success for the most Americans as opposed to any other form of government. Lane: That has always been America’s draw—hope. When you come to America, you leave other countries where there is no hope, and you come here because there is hope. And like Mark said, we’re getting to the point where we’re getting ready to step off, and we’re going to be come a hopeless nation. And we don’t believe in pork-barrel politics, either. We don’t want to send people to D.C. to bring money back to Mississippi. Isn’t that Congress’ job? Mayfield: They sure think it is. We’ve got a senator up there right now—Thad Co-
Isn’t hard for people to be engaged in Mississippi with it being so conservative? Mayfield: I think if you’re willing to get off the bench and get in the game, it’s not hard. I was never involved in politics until I saw the direction we started taking with the bailouts, the stimulus, TARP, Obamacare—you name it—this endless, mindless overspending and over-borrowing. You all had some harsh words for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves after the last session. I’m interested in your assessment of the rest of the session. Mayfield: We applaud (Reeves’) stand on fiscal responsibility. He’s right in line with the Tea Party on that. Tate Reeves drew a line in the sand on any more state borrowing this year. But we’ve got a problem with him on immigration. We have reason to believe he blocked the immigration enforcement bill. Wasn’t it because the Mississippi Sheriff’s Association, the Farm Bureau and other groups came out against it? Lane: Associations do not elect him; individuals go to the polls. But they’re associations of job creators. Wade: We will come together with Tate on issues we’re in agreement on. He did not come out with a blanket endorsement of the Tea Party’s position on illegal immigration. At the same time, that doesn’t remove our responsibility to fight vigorously for things we believe in. You’re doing outreach with groups that haven’t traditionally supported the Tea Party—African Americans, minorities. What parts of the Tea Party platform do you think resonate with those groups? Mayfield: Jobs and economic development. Things like giving voters a choice on where to send their kids to school. They don’t have to keep sending them to a failing public school. We want to give them the option of sending them to a successful charter school or perhaps look at vouchers where they can send them to a successful private school. Wade: Our position on charter schools is incoherent as black people. We’re sitting up
here watching our kids be destroyed because our leadership says we’re supposed to dislike private schools because they were born out of segregation. Well, what wasn’t? Everything was segregated 40 years ago. Sorry to shut the men out of the conversation, but I wanted to ask Janis about the role of women in conservative politics and reproductive rights. Lane: I do not agree with the federal government supporting killing a preborn human. A child is a child from the moment of conception. The argument is: They’ve done it before, they’ll always do it. That’s probably true. My point is a nation should not support or condone the killing of anybody. Then you’ll come around with what about capital punishment. Well, you know what, if you’re on death row, you’re an adult and you made a choice to be there. An innocent child in the womb does not have a right to make a decision because they haven’t been born, yet. We’re taking that right away from that child. But do you think there are too many male politicians telling women what to do with their bodies? Wade: This is about right and wrong. How is it that they find a cell on Mars, then there’s evidence of life on Mars, but if there’s a cell in a womb, it’s not a baby? ... You don’t have the right to kill. If that was the case, then they had a right to kill us as blacks. If it’s just a matter of having enough votes in the Legislature to kill someone, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Lane: I’m really going to set you back here. Probably the biggest turn we ever made was when the women got the right to vote. What do you mean? Lane: Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I’d much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them. Because women have the right to vote, I am active, because I want to make sure there is some sanity for women in the political world. It is up to the Christian rednecks and patriots to stand up for our country. Everyone has the right to vote now that’s 18 or over (who is) a legal citizen, and every person that’s 18 and over and a legal citizen should be active in local politics so they can make a change locally, make a change on the state level and make a change in Washington, D.C. God bless America. Tell us what you think of this interview at www.jfp.ms where you can see video of parts of this interview. You can also email R.L. Nave directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
chran—who’s just as guilty as anybody. He’s probably the worst one up there in terms of pork-barrel legislation. Wade: As it relates to fiscal responsibility, you made the note that it’s the purpose of Congress to bring money back. It is to do it in a responsible way. We’re not against government for being against government’s sake. We’re in it for the purpose of providing the most good for the most people.
by Todd Stauffer
Managing Projects, Tasks and Info
he recent wholesale upgrade to the the project management tool from 37 Sig- and ToDo items. (Yes, seriously.) Jackson Free Press website (www.jfp. nals that is very popular in “silicon” circles. For me, one great feature in Basecamp ms) was quite an undertaking. For the Basecamp is attractively designed, gives you is the way it handles discussions—if you’re first time since 2002, we have com- a way to offer a repository for information part of a message thread, then you’re alerted pletely changed not just to a new design, (like links to documentation, FAQs, etc.) when someone says something new on that but to an entire new “backend” as well, switching to a different Content Management System, or CMS, for our stories, events, restaurant listings and so on. Upgrades in the past had all been in the same family of products, from one company (pMachine, later Expression Engine, by EllisLabs), with a defined upgrade path. Now, everything has changed, in an effort to bring a fully modern newspaper website to our readers. Already the site is better at presenting content such as photos, videos, related stories, documents and other items we think are important for our readers (and fun for us); over the next few weeks we’ll roll out new tools, including improvements to the mobileenabled site, more options for Teamlab offers some clear advantages for work groups with multiple projects. online discussions and, well, a couple of very cool surprises. This process, believe it or not, has taken about six months, from learning the basics of the tool we’re and has support for ToDos, milestones, and thread. Replying above their reply (in email) using to getting the import script to work even whiteboards for sharing documents and places your response on the Basecamp site, (a huge one), figuring out how to bring brainstorming sessions among one another. where you can later return to that discusalong a decade’s worth of our all-imporBasecamp is a great way to manage a sion to see what was said. That combinatant reader comments (and discussions) project, and probably gave us everything tion of email and web-based message board from our earlier sites, and building out the we needed for managing this website is great for keeping discussions from getting new design. (Hats off, by the way, to Matt transition—we just didn’t use it much, too wound up in “reply all” purgatory, plus Heindl, our primary architect of this tran- at least on our end. As I’ve mentioned in they’re easier to browse and search. sition, who has had help from the whole previous columns, I’m a little addicted to Milestones and to-do lists are easy team including Kristin Brenemen, Latasha Workflowy (www.workflowy.com), and enough to use, although if I have one minor Willis and Dustin Cardon.) Matt and I would primarily use it to note gripe it’s that they seem to assume projects And having been through this process, bugs, design ideas, feature implementation take relatively few steps. For quickly listing I now fully realize the value of having a good questions and so on. That gets a bit messy lots of bugs or quick fixes or fast notes, I project management tool—and using it! though—sort of the virtual version of the like a tool like Workflowy more. (Of course, When the project started, our vendor eight different used envelopes I have sitting you could link a shared Workflowy to your set us up in Basecamp (basecamp.com), on my desk right now covered with notes project if desired.)
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If I have a major dig for Basecamp, it’s that they charge based on the number of projects you want to manage—which means it’s impractical for something like managing a weekly newspaper with a new project for each issue. That’s one reason I’ve been looking closely at TeamLab (teamlab.com) these past few weeks. While I feel like Basecamp is really nice for managing a group of freelancers or far-flung project participants, TeamLab is nicely geared for managing a lot of the interaction for a small to medium-sized business. With CRM and a community dashboard built in, you’ve got an “intranet” solution with all of the potential of a shared address book, customer tracker, and the ability to share a lot of info with your co-workers using forums, blogs, live chat and wikis. Having the project management tools built into this overall intranet is nice; I’d say the Basecamp experience is a bit slicker, but TeamLab offers some clear advantages, such as the option to store editable documents directly within the project itself (you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings) and edit them as a group. TeamLab also has a time-tracking tool built in, which is nice if you’re billing clients by the hour. TeamLab is free for initial use, and then they charge based on the amount of storage space you use—$49 per month for an extra 50 GB of storage (you get 1 GB for free). A built-in email client is planned for a future upgrade, which could really set TeamLab up as a tool your employees spend most of their day in, hopefully making them more organized and productive along the way. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Todd Stauffer at email@example.com.
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Get Your Brew On
one are the days when choice in beer meant something â€œexoticâ€? such as an Amstel Light. The craft-brewing industry has grown tremendously in the United States over the past two decades, with local brewers all over the country undertaking the simple, ancient ritual of adding yeast to a mixture of malt, water and hopsâ€”and sometimes spices and fruitâ€”to brew, sell and serve high-quality beer. As of July 1, 2012, thanks to a change in the state law that allows for higher alcohol content in beer sold here, Mississippi beer consumers will have more choices, and regional brewersâ€”including Mississippi-based Lazy Magnoliaâ€”are stepping up with more options. Our favorite grocery stores will be adding new varieties to their shelves, and our favorite watering holes will have some creative new stuff on tap. As triumphant as this day is, the law still needs more changes come 2013. According to the Brewers Association (brewersassociation.org), in both 2010 and 2011, dollar growth in the craft-brewing industry was 15 percent; in 2011, the retail value of the industry was estimated at $8.7 billion. (By comparison, thatâ€™s about three times greater than the smartphone â€œappâ€? economy.) And little about the July 1 law enables Mississippi to get a piece of that action. For the next legislative session, a few things need to be added. One, we need to legalize home brewing (legal federally and in 47 other states) in Mississippi, and encourage brewing competitions statewide. These â€œculinary tourismâ€? opportunities are moneymakers that more than fit with Mississippiâ€™s burgeoning foodie image, and home brewing is how many local and regional micro-breweries get their starts, leading to jobs and tax revenue. Two, we need authorities to support brewpubs and allow for on-site sale of beer at breweries. Again, the culinary tourism or brewery tours and samplings are strong traditions in other parts of the country and the world, and Mississippi could establish similar traditions. And local brews encourage allegiances and pride that add to quality of life for beer-drinking residents. One other note: In appreciation of the current law changes, we all need to say â€œthank youâ€? by being responsible drinkers. As these heavier beers roll out, we encourage you to seriously consider the differences in alcohol content compared to what youâ€™re used to drinking. Go slow, enjoy the taste and aroma of great beerâ€”but designate a sober driver, and donâ€™t get behind the wheel if youâ€™ve been enjoying good brew. Congrats, Mississippi, on a step down the right road. Hereâ€™s to this stepâ€”and the next one. Cheers!
Congress, Support Mississippi Students
June 27 - July 3, 2012
nder the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippiâ€™s Institutions of Higher Learning will receive $2,400 less per student for fiscal year 2013 than they received a decade ago. In addition, Republican leadership, rather than independently accounting for Mississippiâ€™s portion of the Ayers v. Fordice settlement, is requiring several of our universities and colleges to give up more than $6 million to pay for the settlement. As a direct result of the Republican budget, the state college board passed a tuition increase that will cost Mississippiâ€™s college students an average of $450 this fall and approximately $350 next year. This is an unacceptable result for a state that was ranked 48 out of 50 in percentage of people over 25 years old with college degrees according to the latest census data. Now, as Mississippi students prepare to pay more for their education, they face a new threat. This month, Congress must agree to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on federal student loans or that rate will double. This gathering storm provides Mississippiâ€™s congressional delegation with an opportunity to soften the blow dealt to our college students by our governor and Legislature. To help ensure that our delegation keeps faith with Mississippi students, please contact your congressman through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask them to extend the current interest rate on federal college loans. â€”Tyrone Hendrix, President, Young Democrats of Mississippi 12 â€”Brandon Jones, Executive Director, Mississippi Democratic Trust
BY INGRID CRUZ
One Life-Changing Day
n Mississippi, the movement to organize undocumented immigrant youth is a fairly recent one. It formally began after five youth attended the national United We DREAM conference in Dallas, Texas, in November 2011. A month later, they decided to form Youth Organizers United in Jackson. The constant fear that the state Legislature will pass an anti-immigrant law similar to Alabamaâ€™s HB 56 and HB 658â€”two of the most Draconian antiimmigrant laws in the countryâ€”hangs over immigrants in Mississippi. These laws criminalize every aspect of an immigrantâ€™s life: It forbids documented people from giving transportation to undocumented immigrants and tells schools to ask students for their status; it makes giving an undocumented person a job into a crime and, among the worst of their provisions, these laws legalize racial profiling. They empower police to stop anyone they â€œreasonably suspectâ€? to be undocumented. The closeness of Alabama to Mississippi means there are many similar economic, personal, ideological and political demographics between the two states. During the 2012 legislative session, the Mississippi legislature attempted to pass HB 488, a law that was an exact replica of Alabamaâ€™s HB 56, but the law did not pass. For many years, undocumented youth in Mississippi have been confused about their right to attend institutions of higher education after high school. This is why there are so few undocumented students enrolled in Mississippiâ€™s colleges and universities. Furthermore, Mississippi has been using E-Verify, an online system meant to verify a personâ€™s legal status, since 2008. The system makes it difficult for undocumented students to apply for employment regardless of professional degrees. Mississippi law isnâ€™t clear about a studentâ€™s right to attend public schools or receive state financial aid. On June 15, President Barack Obama made an announcement that could possibly change the lives of up to 1 million undocumented youth for the better. Janet Napolitano, director of Department of Home Security, released a memo stipulating that some undocumented young people would be able to apply for a deferred action that would later grant them a permit for up to two years. To be eligible, the person must have arrived in the United States before age 16, be younger than age 30, graduated from high school or
university, served in the military or attained a GED certificate. The language of the memo closely mirrors much of what immigrant youths have been fighting for in the DREAMâ€”Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minorsâ€”Act. Although this memo will not pave a path to citizenship or residency, up to one million youth will finally be able to work legally and apply for a driverâ€™s license without fearing deportation. The general mood in the immigrant community is that this is not immigration reform, but it is a step in the right direction. Up to 64 percent of voters approve of Obamaâ€™s immigration announcement, according to a Bloomberg poll. How does this announcement affect Mississippiâ€™s undocumented youth? Alex Ortiz, a member of Youth Organizers United, came to this country from Honduras when he was 11 years old. He is a straight-A student at Tougaloo College; despite his undocumented status, he received a scholarship due to his grades and credentials. He has this to say about Obamaâ€™s proclamation: â€œAs an undocumented youth, this is life changing, historic. This referendum means I will no longer live in fear of deportation. As a college student this means that I will now have an opportunity to use my future profession in order to give back to this country, I will no longer live a life filled with uncertainty!â€? We are sure that, just like in other parts of the country, many talented undocumented youth in Mississippi echo Alexâ€™s sentiments. I am personally proud of their patience, but this is not the end. As Alex says, â€œI believe that this will show others that the efforts that have been made have not been in vain, and that our strength as dreamers continues to grow, and we will not stop until we reach a permanent solution to our immigration problem, which is the DREAM Act.â€? I agree with Alex. Still, I will remember June 15, 2012, as a day when tireless undocumented immigrant youth reshaped this country. Ingrid Cruz is an activist for immigrantsâ€™ rights and against private prisons. She was born in El Salvador, raised in California and moved to Mississippi in September 2010. She participated in 2012â€™s recreation of James Meredithâ€™s Walk Against Fear and writes about what itâ€™s like to be a Latina on her blog, comomaquinita.tumblr.com.
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P.O. Box 5067, Jackson, Miss., 39296 Editorial (601) 362-6121 Sales (601) 362-6121 Fax (601) 510-9019 Daily updates at jacksonfreepress.com The Jackson Free Press is the city’s award-winning, locally owned newsweekly, with 17,000 copies distributed in and around the Jackson metropolitan area every Wednesday. The Jackson Free Press is free for pick-up by readers; one copy per person, please. Firstclass subscriptions are available for $100 per year for postage and handling. The Jackson Free Press welcomes thoughtful opinions. The views expressed in this newspaper are not necessarily those of the publisher or management of Jackson Free Press Inc. © Copyright 2012 Jackson Free Press Inc. All Rights Reserved "TTPDJBUJPOPG "MUFSOBUJWF/FXTXFFLMJFT
The Good Fight
few months ago, after watching one of the Republican debates, I placed a call to my sweet little momma. She lives in what I call a FOX News bubble: She doesn’t have access to the Internet or pay much attention to opposing views. I’d been curious about her thoughts on the Republican hopefuls running for the presidential nomination. This campaign year has been a bit like a circus, and I couldn’t help but wonder. She had decided. “I like Santorum for president,” she told me. “Mother,” I said, cautiously, “the statements the man makes ... I’m just baffled by it all.” I was talking about his comments that deal directly with me and my “lifestyle”—the one that’s apparently detrimental to civilization. I then explained how disheartening it is to listen to these men argue to keep me a second-class citizen. My mother, a conservative Southern Baptist, thinks I should be able to marry my partner of almost 10 years. When I worked up the courage to ask, she said thoughtfully, “It’s my understanding that the only thing that condemns a soul to hell is not accepting Christ as your savior, not being gay.” She, like our president, wrestled with the issue at hand, and her thoughts eventually evolved—to a point. “Oh, son,” she said, explaining her views on gay marriage. “I believe it should be put to a vote. The people should decide.” So, there it was: the old flag conservatives wave when pressed for an opinion— “Vote on Civil Rights.” It should go without saying that blacks would probably still be on the back of the bus had it been left to the people’s vote back in the ’60s. “Well, I’m glad you’re open to the idea” was all I could muster, and I left it at that. Then, months later, our president publicly stated he believes gays should have the right to a marriage recognized by our state and the federal government. Of course, he says it should be left up to the states to decide, kicking the can even further down the street, so to speak. Six states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage, so we’ve seen progress. But several states amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage and even to refuse to recognize those legal unions from other states. Mississippi did so in 2004 with a majority of voters defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. End of story, so sayeth the Lo-ward! There have been some rumblings about the unconstitutionality of such amendments—as well as the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts legal unions to “one man and one woman”—as it works its way through the judicial system. I, like so many, sit and watch while others weigh in on the subject; it’s like I’m the elderly woman across the table from my adult children who are debating among themselves whether I should be allowed to drive.
I cling to this one thing: Polls are now showing that an increasing majority of Americans are in favor of marriage equality because of their proximity to gays and lesbians. As the social climate warms to the idea that gays and lesbians are an acceptable and important part of our society, more and more of “my kind” feel comfortable stepping out of the closet. The more we show ourselves, the more society will understand that everyone knows one, works with one, or is related to one. Back in 1978, Harvey Milk knew this very thing to be true: “Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out. Come out to your parents. I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives; come out to your friends, if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors, to your fellow workers, to the people who work where you eat and shop; come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions.” Proximity, coupled with the fact that equality is nearly a non-issue for many voters under age 30, will eventually lead to marriage equality. If the federal government keeps kicking the can and the states continue to be divided on the issue, I know at least the up-and-coming voters will vote in favor of an amendment to allow gay marriage or will overwhelmingly repeal existing amendments against it. You see, while our president encouraged a “respectful debate” on the subject, the opponents are encouraging anything but. We see some of the most passionate and frightening opposition coming directly from the pulpit. This sort of fanatical preaching is nothing new, but now, as these snippets of hate go viral, light shines on the black heart of a big segment of our population. Not surprisingly, these “men of God” run for cover when called out on their bigotry. Without much fuss, these people drive younger voters away from the church and the increasingly ultraconservative Republican Party. Here we are, fighting in what is being called “the new civil-rights movement,” and more and more Americans are on our side. As our president said while addressing the attendees of a Human Rights Campaign banquet in 2009: “That’s the story of America: of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating and advocating for change ... of Americans fighting to build for themselves and their families a nation in which no one is a second-class citizen ... (is) free to live and love as we see fit.” The story of America—indeed. Eddie Outlaw is co-owner of the William Wallace Salon in Fondren, a resident of the King Edward, and spends most of his time trying not to embarrass his sweet Delta mother on eddieoutlaw.com”
Revealing Heaven On Earth 8:30 a.m. A Service of Word and Table 9:30 a.m. Sunday School for all ages 11:00 a.m. Worship Service Live Streaming at www.gallowayumc.org Televised on WAPT Children’s Church Ages 4-Kindegarten Nursery Available Ages 6 weeks-3 years
305 North Congress Street Jackson, MS 601-353-9691 English 601-362-3464 Spanish www.gallowayumc.org
Sweet, Sweet Beer by Tom Ramsey
â€œIâ€™d kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet, sweet beer.â€? â€”Homer Simpson
ississippi was the last state in the United States to fully allow the sale of alcohol. The state repealed prohibition in 1966, 46 years after the U.S. nullified it, and then only in a confusing patchwork of â€œwetâ€? and â€œdryâ€? counties and cities. But â€œintoxicating liquorsâ€? had been illegal in Mississippi since 1907, 13 years before the Volstead Act was fully ratified. Because of this and other factors, including the enormous influence of teetotaling church communities, Mississippi never really developed a beer-brewing history. A few local breweries operated along the river and on the Coast, but for the most part, the beers consumed in Mississippi came into the state by truck, rail and barge. The â€œgolden ageâ€? of American breweries lasted from the 1880s to 1910. During the first part of this gilded time, Mississippi was still in shambles, putting itself back together after the Civil War and Reconstruction. By the end of the brewery boom, Mississippi was officially dry. So, when Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company sold its first keg a century after the golden age, it didnâ€™t signify the resurgence of brewing in Mississippi as much as the birth of the industry here. What Mississippi missed out on during the golden
age was a time when the number of American breweries peaked at more than 3,000, brought on by the huge influx of European immigrants setting up local breweries and making small-batch beers in the style of their homelands. Over the next few decades, with the advent of refrigeration and the proliferation of railroad lines, the largest breweries either purchased the smaller ones to meet demand or simply outperformed them in such a way that made it difficult or impossible for the little guys to compete with the monsters that became Anheuser-Bush, Miller, Schlitz and Coors. The nail in the small brewerâ€™s coffin came in January of 1919 with the passage of prohibition. Only the biggest survived by turning their breweries into factories and making â€œnear beer,â€? or beer with low to no alcohol. However, craft beer has experienced a resurgence in recent decades, and many say we are now in our second golden age with more than 1,500 breweries operating in the United States. Sure, the brewing behemoths still have the bulk of the business, but all of the growth in the industry is coming from the little guys making impressive beer. Now, at last, Mississippi gets to play along with the rest of the yard. The brewers at Lazy Magnolia, founded in 2005, feared that the Mississippi customers might not appreciate the more intense â€œcraftâ€? beers that they wanted to
make. With this in mind, they produced Reb Ale (now known as Deep South Pale Ale), a beer that was as close to a traditional American lager as they could brew, and planned on it being their bread-and-butter productâ€”the one that would allow them to sell a little bit of the more complex and intense â€œgood stuff.â€? When the â€œgood stuff â€? started outselling the â€œlight stuff,â€? they were pleasantly surprised and became cautiously optimistic that change was on the wind. Fast forward seven years, and those seeds of change sown by a couple who started brewing as a kitchen-counter hobby grew and blossomed into a full-blown craft-beer movement that swept through bars and restaurants and, of all places, the Mississippi State Capitol. A handful of self-proclaimed â€œbeer geeksâ€? and â€œhop heads,â€? operating under the banner of Raise Your Pints, took on the political whoâ€™s who in the shining buckle of the Bible Belt and accomplished the unthinkable. In just a couple of sessions, they convinced the old lions of the Mississippi legislature to pass a law increasing the alcohol content of beer and allowing for the sale of more beer. Hang around any local bar that pours craft beer, and youâ€™ll hear the buzz. Thereâ€™s an electric anticipation in the air, and the magic date of July 1 on everyoneâ€™s lips. That is the day when Mississippi will finally be free from the Draconian cap of 5 percent alcohol by weight, or ABW, and higher-gravity beers will be on the store shelves. Everyone has favorites theyâ€™re hoping to see on tapâ€” my two are Andygator by Abita Brewing and De Koninck Triple dâ€™Anvers. Hop heads are hoarding â€œbig beersâ€? and holding parties that will commence at the stroke of midnight with the synchronized bottle-top-popping of their favorite elixirs. Beer tastings are scheduled and full-blown celebrations, like our â€œUnderground USAâ€? at Underground 119, are set to go. Itâ€™ll be like a hipster New Yearâ€™s Eve right in the middle of our long hot summer.
)TÂ´S .OW THE ,AW
June 27 - July 3, 2012
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Top 20 Beer-consuming states in the USA
by Kathleen Mitchell; photos by Virginia Schreiber
ll summer long, beer geeks and hopheads have been buzzing about craft beer. But for those who have never ventured outside the standard varietals, the pool of higher-alcohol beers can be an intimidating one to cannonball into. Luckily, we’ve put together a cheat sheet for you. We invited some of the members of Raise Your Pints to a Craft Beer Taste-Off to see how our palates compared with the local experts. Team JFP and Team RYP sat down with six of the higher-alcohol beers (plus Bud Light as a “control” beer) that will hit Mississippi sometime in July. We tasted from the lightest to the most intensely flavored India pale ales, and judged each brew using five criteria. To read the full response cards and see a gallery of photos, visit jfp.ms/beermonth.
#1 Budweiser Bud Light
#2 Spaten Optimator
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