Your Son Is Not a
But January 22 and 23, UMC will use live pigs to teach future doctors how to treat human patients. If UMC’s simulation center were fully utilized, the university could immediately replace the use of live animals without additional costs.
January 23 - 29, 2013
Tell UMC to join the 98% of programs that use hightech, human-based methods for medical training— including Emory, Vanderbilt, and Duke.
www.JacksonTakeAction.org FROM PHYSICiANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE
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JACKSONIAN FRAN LEBER
o handicap sticker can slow down a passionate spirit like Fran Leber, the ultimate go-getter. “I’m one of those people who wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t busy,” she says. The current vice president of administration for the League of Women Voters of the Jackson area, Leber lobbies for education and policy issues. She’s been a member of the organization since 1969. Born in Rockford, Ill., Leber, 78, grew up in a family that instilled strong moral values. Instead of furthering her career as a player for The Rockford Peaches, an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that played in the 1940s and early ’50s, the self-proclaimed tomboy decided to attend college at Northern Illinois University to become a physical education teacher. The new teacher married her husband, Thomas, and in 1968, the couple moved to Mississippi with their three sons. The family soon found themselves in the midst of the struggle for integration. “We built a home in a neighborhood that supported public education,” she says. However, many neighbors opposed integration and began sending their children to private schools. Leber actively supported integration; she attended school in Illinois with African Americans in the ’50s. With her children bused to Brown Elementary, she often visited to provide physical activities during recess—the school did not offer physical education classes. “After I encouraged one of my neighbors to
help out at the school, she says she walked in the school and forgot there were black children,” she says. “They were all just children.” Integration became the catalyst for Leber’s career in public policy. In the 1970s, Leber helped get the Education Reform Act passed. Through the years, she has put women’s issues and good government at the forefront. More recently, Leber fought the voter ID law. “I don’t think it’s necessary,” she says. “It makes it harder for certain groups to vote, not just African Americans … (but also) the disabled and the elderly.” Despite her many areas of concern, education is always crucial. “Education is so important for every individual to be who they are and to develop their potential,” she says. Leber also worked at Mynelle Gardens for 16 years. She loves gardening and sharing tips with a local garden club. “Gardening is my outlet to relax,” she says. She’s also working on her family genealogy. Leber enjoys telling her grandchildren facts about their family, such as her grandmother being the first woman to be a telephone operator. Leber says she remains enthusiastic about her work and keeping up with current events— even a hip replacement can’t stop her. She recalls her response to an irritated legislator demanding to know what paper she reads: “After giving him the long list of papers that I read daily, he didn’t know what to say.” —Christianna Jackson
Cover design by Kristin Brenemen
These are the folks that make Jackson, well … Jackson. Whether they make music, provide a listening ear, tickle taste buds, beautify the city or just raise hell in general, these are the movers and shakers making names for themselves in our fair city.
28 Urban Living
To those that think there’s nothing to do in Jackson: Think twice. With all the annual events, art galleries, shopping venues, spas, gyms, museums, beauty shops, bookstores and much more, we’ve got your next 52 weekends booked.
What can you say about southern food that hasn’t been said before? Apparently a lot, because Jackson restaurants just keep getting better and better. From new healthy eateries to never-change-’em classics, here is the best cuisine in the capital city.
6 ....................... PUBLISHER’S NOTE 8 ............................................ TALKS 12 .................................. EDITORIAL 12 ................. EDITORIAL CARTOON 13 ...................................... OPINION 14 ...................... BEST OF JACKSON PEOPLE 24 ....................... BEST OF JACKSON COMMUNITY 28 ....................... BEST OF JACKSON URBAN 28 ....................... BEST OF JACKSON FOOD 45 ....................... BEST OF JACKSON NIGHTLIFE 52 ....................... BEST OF JACKSON BEYOND JXN 56 .......................................... FILM 60 ....................................... 8 DAYS 62 ............................... JFP EVENTS 65 ..................................... SPORTS 67 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 69 .............................. ASTROLOGY 69 .................................... PUZZLES
COURTESY JULEP/COURTESY STEPHANIE BARNES/COURTESY DJ YOUNG VENOM; COURTESY REPEAT STREET/TOMRAMSEY/WILLIAM PATRICK BUTLER; TRIP BURNS/COURTESY PAN ASIA/TATE K NATIONS
JANUARY 23 - 29, 2012 | VOL. 11 NO. 20
by Todd Stauffer, Publisher
Want a Better Jackson? Work With the Best.
ust this morning, as I sat down to write this publisher’s note, we received an interesting “story tip” via our Web contact form from a reader who was lamenting the rumored loss of the Sam’s Club in north Jackson. There may be valid reasons to worry about the Sam’s Club moving to Madison or elsewhere if that’s the plan (we haven’t confirmed it); there’s certainly a tax-base argument that suggests that if we’re going to have these big-box retailers, it’s good for the capital city if they’re located within the city limits. But something the message author wrote surprised me, perhaps because I haven’t been in a Sam’s Club in more than 15 years. I’ve visited Walmart, Sam’s parent, once in that time frame, to buy a frozen pizza when I was staying in a motel on a trip and hadn’t had dinner. I don’t like that company. The line went something like this: We, the loyal Sam’s Club shopper, deserve and expect loyalty from them. How could they do this to us? It’s hard for me to put my response into words. The best I can come up with is—and I say it with love in my heart for the author: What would possibly make you think that Walmart cares? The Walmarts of the world don’t operate on “loyalty.” Not to their customers, not to their employees, not to their communities. And if you don’t believe that, ask yourself if you believe anyone in senior management at Walmart is willing to skip a paycheck to make sure their employees stay employed in recessionary times. Or whether Walmart is willing to keep a store running at a low profit or in a less-than-ideal location just to keep the lights on and the workers working in that area of town. I think you’ll agree with me that the answer is “no.” And you’ll find that, at least for some small, local businesses under certain circumstances, the answer is much more likely to be “yes.”
I know this is America: Business is business, and shareholder value is king. But if you want to talk about “loyalty” in business, then you need to talk about more than price. Watch how the best that Jackson has to offer do it—price, product, service, experience—and a willingness to give back to their community. Welcome to our 11th Annual Best of Jackson issue. What you find in these pages are the results of weeks of voting by Jacksonians this past holiday season to help us determine which local businesses and individual leaders and service providers to
If you want to talk about “loyalty” in business, then you need to talk about more than price. honor this year as the best. We’ve crunched the numbers, hit the streets, researched the winners and taken photos of half the town—and present to you, in these pages, the results of all that work. Not only do I hope you enjoy the “reveal” of the winners and the write-ups by our staff and freelancers, but I hope you’ll find this issue useful. Sock it away on your coffee table or in a desk drawer and use it to discover things you might not know about Jackson. Have you had the best barbecue or best soul food or best vegetarian options? Have you visited the best taqueria or best Asian restaurant? Have you explored the Best Italian, Best Chinese or Best Fried Chicken options? And what about the second place, third
place and “good showing” finalists? You’ve got some dining to do. Beyond our food and drink categories are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and explore greater Jackson, from the heroes (and rascals) who placed and won in our categories for individuals—Best Business Owner, Best Bartender, Best Visionary, Best Preacher and Best Public Figure—to the organizations that work to make life in Jackson better and more meaningful for all its citizens, including all those on two legs and, in some cases, four! Then there are the things to do: museums, gardens, wedding venues, art galleries, yoga studios. And the people to see: tailors, barbers, beauty shops, dentists, doctors and so many more. We celebrate them all, and encourage you to do the same. Congratulate them when you see them, and if you’re in the market for their services or products, let them know where you found them! While we’ve learned a lot from the Best of Jackson contests we’ve held over the years, and we’ve gotten better at managing the details, there’s no doubt this is a massive endeavor for our staff. In particular, I’d like to recognize Deputy Editor Briana Robinson, who spent the bulk of her holiday break from Millsaps managing the Best of Jackson issue, including making sure everything was counted and accounted for, from assigning the stories and photos to moving them all the way through the production process. Kudos also to Features Editor Kathleen Morrison, who helped manage her first Best of Jackson issue, and News Editor Ronni Mott, who has been involved in a good number of them now. Retired teacher and intern Susan Hogan outdid herself on factchecking and sharing her journalism expertise with younger interns along the way as she trains with us in long-form writing. Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin led an excellent effort on the ad front. Photographer Trip Burns lived through
his first Best-of experience after a great job rounding up and taking photos from throughout the metro. And Executive Assistant Erica Crunkilton directed a multitude of vital tasks, including improving our system for printing the awards for all the finalists and overseeing plans for the big Cirque du Best of Jackson bash this Sunday, coordinated by Ariss King. Best of Jackson is a challenge for our small but capable production staff as well. Inspired by Editor in Chief Donna Ladd’s obsession with the novel “Night Circus,” Kristin Brenemen conceived and executed the look of this year’s Best Of issue, awards, invitations and all of the items that go together to make Best of Jackson week so special each year, while Andrea Thomas took the brunt of the advertising load for this large issue with the same smile on her face and song in her voice that she has pretty much every day of the year. The voting wouldn’t happen without Matt Heindl, who put our electronic ballot into the field this year with many improvements; he builds on work done by Knol Aust, Vince Falconi and Megan Stewart in past years, and we thank them all. Speaking of Matt, he’s been hard at work in a secret laboratory, working on our next, new digital product from the Jackson Free Press. Keep watching for the reveal at bestofjackson.com—we’ll let you know online and in the pages of the JFP when it’s ready for beta testing. Finally, if you’re a finalist in these pages and you haven’t RSVP’ed yet for the Best of Jackson party and awards ceremony, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not a finalist, there are only two ways to get into the private party at this point, depending on how quickly the invitation list closes this week—get an invite by being a member of JFPDaily.com, or get invited as the “plus-1” for someone who is. Here’s to the Best!
January 23-29, 2013
Art Director Kristin Brenemen is an otaku with a penchant for dystopianism. She decided to not wear a gorilla suit to the party. Darn. She designed the cover, the Best of Jackson ballot and party invitation, and much of this issue.
Advertising Designer Andrea Thomas is a native of Ridgeland and is an Antonelli College graduate. She loves to sing, dance and write poetry in her free time. She designed many of the ads in this issue.
Deputy Editor Briana Robinson’s hobbies include photography, ballet and ballroom dancing. She is a junior at Millsaps College. She coordinated and wrote for the Best of Jackson issue.
Kathleen M. Mitchell ShaWanda Jacome Kathleen M. Mitchell thinks the best things about Jackson are the restaurants, Millsaps College, Brian Mitchell, her pets, the art museum and the weather in October. She wrote for Best of Jackson.
ShaWanda Jacome is an elementary librarian in JPS. She lives in Ridgeland with her husband and son, Michael and Mateo. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” She wrote for Best of Jackson.
Freelance writer LaShanda Phillips is a recent graduate of Jackson State University. She is the third oldest of seven children. She wrote for Best of Jackson.
Micah Smith is a senior at Mississippi College, a Jackson-based songwriter, an avid music listener and reviewer. He prides himself on being the very best, like no one ever was. He wrote for Best of Jackson.
Susan Hogan, JFP editorial intern, is the wife of an amazing musician; mother of three talented kids; retired teacher of math, journalism, STEM; and seeker of truth from Gulfport. She was a factchecking machine for Best of Jackson.
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Thursday, Jan. 17 Sen. Briggs Hobson introduces the Mississippi Uniform Smoke-Free Public Place Act of 2013, which bans smoking in most public places. â€Ś Mississippi lawmakers hold a brief memorial service at the Capitol for Rep. David Gibbs, who died of cancer Jan. 13 at age 76. Friday, Jan. 18 Lawyers for five people charged with helping teachers cheat on qualification exams say their clients plan to change their pleas from not guilty. â€Ś The Chinese government continues efforts to stifle Tibetan self-immolation protests with arrests and confiscations of supportersâ€™ TVs and satellite dishes. Saturday, Jan. 19 Algerian troops assault a natural-gas plant where al-Qaeda militants captured over 60 foreign hostages. â€Ś Police in Albuquerque, N.M., discover a couple and three of their children dead of multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities arrest the coupleâ€™s 15-year-old son for the crime.
January 23 - 29, 2013
Monday, Jan. 21 Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann works to stop a legislative push to allow for â€œsweetheartâ€? leases of 16th Section land, which support public schools. â€Ś President Barack Obama is publicly sworn in for his second term.
Tuesday, Jan. 22 Jackson State University announces an 8,600-square-foot campus in Madison as early as summer. â€Ś The Mississippi house passes a charter-school bill out of committee. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com.
by Jacob D. Fuller
ast Friday afternoon, all Craig KinKinsley and his team presented Audi- Mikel Mangipano and Chelsea Thomas, all sley had was an idea for a new mo- Tour, an idea for a mobile app that provides said theyâ€™d like to continue to work on the bile app. By Sunday night, the idea audio tours of locations all around the city, company in the future. had a six-person development team, based on the listenerâ€™s GPS location. KinsCharles â€œBubbaâ€? Weir, vice president a Facebook page, a mockup website and a ley, a Jackson native who recently moved for innovation resources development at first-place prize at Startup Innovate Mississippi, said Weekend Jackson. Sunday that a few companies The Else Business may come out of the weekSchool at Millsaps College end, but participants had alhosted the 54-hour event, ready achieved the real goal which brought more than of Startup Weekend: face-to70 entrepreneurs together face networking with other to pitch their new business creative entrepreneurs. ideas and develop the best of â€œThatâ€™s what itâ€™s all the bunch. about,â€? Weir said. Startup Weekend, an Marion Desmazieres, international organization a former Startup Weekend that sets up events around New York winner, travels and the globe throughout the leads Startup Weekend events year. Innovate Mississippi around the world. She said organized the weekend, and Startup Weekend does help (From left) John Dolan, Mikel Mangipano, Chelsea Thomas, Bryan Tenort, Craig Kinsley and Valerie Blakey created Startup Weekendâ€™s the Jackson Free Press was launch successful businesses. winning pitch: AudiTour. a sponsor. About 11 percent of Startup â€œ(Startup Weekend) Weekend top 10 ideas behas really pushed for local, grass-roots ef- back when his mother was diagnosed with come businesses that continue past the first forts in creating businesses and pushing cancer, told the Jackson Free Press that he year, and some of those have become quite for entrepreneurial opportunities,â€? Tiffany wasnâ€™t surprised Auditour won. He said he successful, including FoodSpotting and Langlinais, event organizer with Innovate has received great feedback on the idea for Zaarly.com. Mississippi told the Jackson Free Press. about a year. The second-place prize for the weekLanglinais and organizers gave each â€œI used to live in San Francisco. Itâ€™s end went to The Closet Cloud. Will Trapp, participant a chance to pitch their ideas the hotbed of startups,â€? Kinsley said. â€œThis a University of Mississippi student, came Friday night. Afterward, participants chose (idea) was one of these things where all up with the idea for an online consigntheir three favorite ideas. The top 10 vote of my friends that were in tech were like, ment-style clothes shop. By Sunday night, getters then had the rest of the weekend to â€˜Thatâ€™s amazing, (but) Iâ€™m busy.â€™â€? Trapp and his teamâ€”fellow Ole Miss studevelop their ideas along with any other parThe AudiTour team, made up of dents Ross Waycaster and Darrius Taylor ticipants who wanted to join their team. Valerie Blakey, John Dolan, Bryan Tenort, and alumnus Russell Adamsâ€”had a
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Sunday, Jan. 20 The Baltimore Ravens beat the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship, and the San Francisco 49ers outscore the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC Championship. â€Ś President Barack Obama takes the official oath of office at the White House.
AudiTour Wins Gold at Startup Weekend
Wednesday, Jan. 16 The state Department of Health conducts an unannounced inspection of the Jackson Womenâ€™s Health Organization, Mississippiâ€™s only abortion clinic, to determine if it is compliant with the 2012 admitting privileges law. â€Ś President Barack Obama unveils plans to reduce gun violence that includes proposed bans on military-style assault weapons.
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website, theclosetcloud.com. Though itâ€™s not yet a fully functioning site, their pitch impressed the judges. â€œIâ€™m ready to upload my closet immediately,â€? said Nathan McNeill, Startup Weekend judge and chief strategy officer at Bomgar Corp. What sets The Closet Cloud apart from online shops like eBay, Trapp said, is that it will allow sellers to show off their entire closet, including the stuff thatâ€™s not for sale, and allow users to follow certain sellers, â€œlikeâ€? their posts and even make offers for items not listed as for sale. While most of the presentations featured mobile apps, websites or marketing companies, Home Fuel Station took third
place overall, and participants voted its product the â€œMost Likely to Raise Capitalâ€? award. Natural gas-powered vehicles, or NGVs, are part of a fast-growing market in the United States, idea presenter Kelly Warnock said. Honda already has the Civic GX, a car that runs on compressed natural gas, on the U.S. market. Other major manufacturers, including Ford and Toyota, plan to introduce natural gas-powered vehicles in the U.S. later this year, Home Fuel Station team member Nathan Cox said. Drivers are having trouble finding fueling stations for the cars, though, Warnock said. The Alternative Fuels Data Center at the U.S. Department of Energy reports only 558 such stations in the country and just one
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in Mississippi: NGV Solutions on Lakeland Drive in Flowood. Warnockâ€™s idea is to manufacture and sell a device that would allow NGV owners to fill up their tanks at home. About 62 million U.S. homes have natural gas heat, according to the American Gas Association. Thatâ€™s about 56 percent of U.S. households. If Home Fuel Station is successful, its device will allow customers to use their home natural gas connection to fuel their vehicles while they sleep. â€œYou drive in your garage, you plug it in, you go in the house, youâ€™re done,â€? Warnock said. â€œIn the morning, you unplug it, and youâ€™ve filled your tank.â€? The advantages come in both dollars
saved and cleaner air, Warnock said. When compared to the equivalent in gasoline, natural gas is much cheaper. About 125 cubic feet of natural gas can equal the fuel capabilities of gallon of gasoline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that from May through October 2012, the latest that data is available, the average cost of 125 cubic feet of natural gas for residential consumers was $1.76. â€œWe all would love to be able to fuel our car for $1.50 a gallon. Weâ€™ve got a product that not only lets you do that, but it lets you drive the car with lower greenhouse emissions,â€? Warnock said. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Jacob D. Fuller at email@example.com.
pared to the national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, post-9/11 veterans had a December unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, up from 10 percent in November 2012, the Army Times reported earlier this month. â€œIt is imperative that we take time to honor the service and sacrifices made by our stateâ€™s servicemen and servicewomen and their families. It is especially important for us to provide jobs for the stateâ€™s veterans,â€? Bryant said during a Capitol press conference. More than 28,000 Mississippi soldiers have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In signing a proclamation to make 2013 the year to hire Mississippi veterans, Bryant also announced a Mississippi Department of Employment SecuSen. David Blount, a Jackson Democrat, said expanding rity program to post jobs, screen charter schools would not transform public education applicants and refer veterans to in Mississippi because very few students would benefit employers at no cost. from charters. Bryant also proposed who would reap any benefit from going to legislation that would put professional license charter schools was one of the reasons he transfers for spouses of returning veterans on voted against the measure. a fast track. Federal law also gives employers â€œDonâ€™t tell us that youâ€™re transforming who hire out-of-work veterans tax credits of education in the state of Mississippi with a up to $9,600. bill that affects 1 percent of the children in The day before Bryant issued his procMississippi, because youâ€™re not,â€? Blount lamation, Walmart announced the company said. would hire up to 100,000 returning vets in the next five years. Bryant on Defense Gov. Phil Bryant is saluting Mississippi SNL Takes Aim soldiers, who often have a difficult time findGov. Bryant spent a lot of time shooting work when they return from war. Com- ing his mouth off about guns last week.
Most notably, Bryantâ€™s statement that criminals would circumvent gun laws by buying weapons from the â€œSoviet Unionâ€? became an Internet punch line because the USSR broke apart in 1991. Despite indicating the existence of a state that failed more than two decades ago, Bryant made it clear that he doesnâ€™t want Mississippi to recognize the authority of our own federal government. Before President Obama officially released his recommendations for a new round of gun restrictions that include renewing the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and tighter background checks, Bryant asked lawmakers to draft legislation to defy federal law. The result was a bill from Rep. Chris Brown, R-Aberdeen, titled the Mississippi Firearms Freedom Act, which exempts federal regulation of Mississippiâ€™s robust intrastate gun industry. Ironically, the bill itself places limits on gun ownership. According to the bill, the law would not apply to firearms that require more than one person to carry and use, have a bore diameter bigger than 1.5 inches or a gun that shoots two or more bullets with one trigger pull. As a result, the writers at Saturday Night Live had a little fun at Mississippiâ€™s expense over the weekend, questioning whether the Mississippi Legislature had the authority to override federal law since the body is comprised, according to Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers, of â€œjust 30 hissing possums in a barn.â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms. Contact R.L. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEGISLATURE: Week 2
Powerhouse tend a charter school, and the per-pupil government funding would follow the student to the charter school. Republicans have tried to allay concerns about the proliferation of charter schools by saying that few students will wind up going to charters. Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, said the â€œinfinitesimal numbersâ€? of students
ississippi Republicans in the Legislature have said they want to ram charter-school legislation through as quickly as possible, and so far theyâ€™re on track to accomplish just that. The House and Senate each passed their own versions of a charter-school expansion bill with lightning speed in the past week. As of press time Tuesday, the full House had not taken up the measure. When it does, it will be the first time the House has debated charter schools. In debating the Senate bill, Hob Bryan, D-Amory, quipped that he debated offering an amendment to change every instance of charter school to â€œcouncil school,â€? referring to private all-white academies that the racist Citizens Council established in the 1960s and â€™70s so their kids would not have to attend integrated schools. â€œWhat happens to the students in the public schools that donâ€™t go to the charter schools? Theyâ€™re isolated, not by their choosing but by the exodus of everyone else from the public schools,â€? Bryan said. The Senate version, SB 2189, allows charter schools across the state. In A- and Brated school districts, an organization seeking a charter would need approval from the local school board. In C, D and F school districts, the charter school could bypass the local board and go straight to the authorizer, made up of appointees by the governor, lieutenant governor and state public-school superintendent. Under the provisions of the legislation, students can cross school-district lines to at-
by R.L. Nave
TALK | politics
Senate 28: Meet the Candidates by R.L. Nave
January 23 - 29, 2013
JAMES STEWART, funeral home owner Charter schools are public enemy No. 1 for James Stewart. “My main emphasis is trying to stop this charter-school bill from becoming law,” he said, adding that even though he has thoughts on how to hold up the bill that the Senate passed but is being held on a motion to reconsider, he doesn’t want to tip his hand. “It’s strategy, and I don’t really need the public to know about it.” Charter schools do not provide equal access to quality education because only a small segment of the school population could attend them, Stewart told the Jackson Free Press. “What you’re doing is taking from the public-school system and creating another school system. I don’t see how that is going to make school kids, the citizens of tomorrow, into a productive society,” he said.
TOMMY WALLACE II, lobbyist Tommy Wallace wants to take Jackson on a roller coaster ride of sorts. Wallace, the son of former state Rep. Tom Wallace, DJackson, said he would like the state to relocate the zoo from west Jackson closer to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and Mississippi Children’s Museum, and then add a few rides. “Now, you have yourself a theme park,” he said. “That would make Jackson a destination and not just a pass-through city. We have a lot of traffic coming through our city. We have to make them stay and make them stop.” Wallace, who works as a lobbyist with his father and sells real estate, also believes he has strong enough relationships with state senators to hit the ground running. In addition to his zoo idea, Wallace would like to compel the state to compensate the city of Jackson for taking up real estate and using the city’s infrastructure through a system called payment in lieu of taxes. As a Realtor, Wallace has a unique perspective on how Medicaid expansion can help Jackson. “One of the main things that keeps people from being able to obtain wealth and being able to have home ownership is hospital bills,” he said. Insuring more people
through the state’s Medicaid program could help curb some of these bills, which would enable more people to buy homes in Jackson, adding to the city and state’s tax bases. Although he would not have voted for the Senate charter-school bill, Wallace would like to see some of the elements of the charterschool legislation, such as reduced studentteacher ratios, implemented in traditional public schools. Wallace added he would also vote against any measure to further restrict abortion access in Mississippi, including two bills—a fetal heartbeat bill and a constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at conception—now under consideration at the Capitol. “That’s something the government should let a woman decide on,” he said. ANTONIO PORTER, professional campaigner “I thought it was nice for the city to take up some of the space at Metrocenter, but we need businesses to come to Metrocenter. And we need to have residents patronize whatever businesses come there,” said Antonio Porter, who lives near the mall in the Wingfield neighborhood. Porter is a former counselor who said his focus is on the Senate race. If he is unsuccessful in his bid, he said he could go back to working in the medical field. Part of the solution to attracting new business to the west-central Jackson Senate district is to demonstrate the area is safe, he said. Porter said Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber and other officials ignore crime in the area. In 2009, Porter faced off against Yarber for the Ward 6 seat, but lost. Porter also ran unsuccessfully for circuit clerk in 2007 and 2011. A gun owner, Porter said he has a problem gun control efforts, such as those President Obama recently proposed that would ban some styles of weapons and large-capacity magazines. “I think we need to make sure we’re not hurting the law-abiding citizens who want to stockpile (weapons),” he said. When asked if he supported Gov. Phil Bryant’s proposal to defy federal gun enforcement regulations, Porter said he would reserve commenting until he read the full bill. If elected to the state Senate, Porter said he wants to fully fund MAEP and expand Medicaid because he does not want people to have to “choose between eating, paying their bills and paying for their medicine.” Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. Nave at email@example.com.
COURTESY JAMES STEWART
Not only does he want to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, he believes the Legislature should put more money into MAEP than even the baseline calls for, because our children will compete in a global workforce. Stewart, whose family is in the funeralhome business, wants to be a voice for Jackson State University and the Jackson Zoo, which lie within the district, and work with the city to improve vacant lots and abandoned property in west-central Jackson. Promoting the zoo would mean an infusion in economic activity, he said. Revitalizing U.S. Highway 80 is an area of especial interest, but he wouldn’t say why because he doesn’t want other candidates to steal his ideas. “I would like to bring economic development there, and I have specific ideas on how to do that which I really don’t want to get (into) in this conversation,” he said.
MARSHAND CRISLER, college administrator Marshand Crisler, director of adult education at Hinds Community College, is already well known to a lot of Jacksonians as a former Jackson City Council president who ran for mayor in 2009. He believes his experience holding public office will enable him to hit the ground running. Fully funding public education according to Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula could help lower Mississippi’s 1-to-27 teacher-student ratio (the national average is 1-to-16), and help pay the state’s teachers more inviting wages, he said. “I certainly think that none of us could do any of the things we do without teachers,” Crisler said. “I know we say that all the time, but the way we compensate them says something differently.” In terms of economic development, he’s excited that the city is breathing new life into Metrocenter Mall by moving some offices there, but would like to see more retailers in the mall, which would contribute to Jackson’s tax base. Crisler likes the idea of a local option sales tax, a temporary levy that would let cities fund certain capital improvement projects if a majority of the citizens approve the tax. Improving Jackson’s crumbling roads and water system would help attract new businesses to Jackson and encourage businesses already operating in the city to hang around. He posits: “Who would leave a city that has great infrastructure, that’s safe and is well-educated? Nobody.”
SOLLIE NORWOOD, real estate broker Former Jackson Public Schools board member Sollie Norwood wants to spend his time in the Senate encouraging parental involvement by fining parents who miss parent-teacher conferences. “We should hold parents accountable and not let them lackadaisically not go (to conferences),” Norwood said. Norwood said he would not have voted for the Senate charter-school bill. “You’re going to further diminish the public schools because everyone isn’t going to be fortunate enough to go to a charter school,” he said. “We have many successful students that have come from public schools.” Gov. Phil Bryant’s plan to introduce a merit pay system to give teachers raises based how well their students perform on tests “leaves too much room for subjectivity,” Norwood said. He would not back the plan. Norwood would fight Bryant’s attempt to halt expansion of Medicaid, and said the state could shift spending priorities to accommodate adding 330,00 more people to the rolls. Budget experts predict that expanding Medicaid would create up to 9,000 jobs. Calling expanded health-care coverage a sanctity-of-life issue, Norwood said: “We have people who are literally dying every day because of lack of health care. A person shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ve got food (or health insurance). This is America. I don’t think that’s something we should have to worry about.”
COURTESY SOLLIE NORWOOD
o far, each of the candidates Senate District 28 special election scheduled for Feb. 5 wants full funding for public education, opposes charter schools, supports Medicaid expansion and sees continued development along the Highway 80 corridor as key to job growth. Whoever fills the seat that became vacant with the death of Sen. Alice Harden in December will have missed a third of this year’s legislative session by the time he or she takes the oath early next month. Already, the constituents in the 28th District have missed out on having their voices heard on the controversial charter-school proposal, which the Senate passed last week. Last week, we profiled four women who are seeking the seat (see “Meet the Candidates,” R.L. Nave, Jan. 22). Here are the remaining candidates:
TALK | education
Big Questions About Charters by Ronni Mott
ostensibly addresses human trafficking, revokes business licenses of people found guilty of trafficking. Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, said HB 198 could effect organizations such as MIRA that helps immigrants. “It’s ridiculous that the Legislature here is still introducing anti-immigrant legislation,” Chandler said. Abortion is also back on the table. This week, Gov. Phil Bryant called for stricter
children with disabilities—those children are being dramatically left behind.” Mississippi should learn from the mistakes Louisiana made, she said, one of which is the system’s structure. New Orleans now has multiple school districts under its charter setup, each of which operates autonomously. That requires duplication of resources, from food contracting to psychologists, leading to a high level of inefficiency. The SPLC—which is suing the Louisiana Department of Education on behalf of New Orleans parents— has also seen cases where Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, moderated a forum about kids are discouraged from education at the state Capitol Jan 17. attending some schools or have been pushed out of senior staff attorney with the Southern Pover- schools because of their disabilities or “generty Law Center, echoed Dollar’s and Troupe’s ally being undesirable students.” concerns when she described how the charPublic-interest lobbyist Pam Shaw ter schools in New Orleans, La., have largely advocated for non-political oversight of failed students with special needs. New Or- Mississippi’s charter schools. Specifically, she leans instituted charters after the levees broke believes the Institutions of Higher Learning, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, not the Department of Education, should be leaving much of the city devastated. With the authorizing agent for charters. “It should one of the worst school systems pre-Katrina, be a research-based organization that everyshe said, the school had nowhere to go but one agrees is non-partisan,” she said. up, but the system only works for some. Shaw also wants to see a detailed fiscal “Children in New Orleans who are impact analysis for any district considering intelligent, who are well-resourced—and by charter schools, which should be made pubwell-resourced I mean they have an involved lic information before a charter is granted. family and parents, they have access to tech- Charter opponents cite evidence that charnology at home—those folks have been able ters siphon much-needed funds from public to navigate the system, and they’ve done schools leaving them financially unstable. well,” Heilman said. “What we’ve also seen, “The Mississippi Legislature has not though, is that those children who are the kept its commitment,” regarding fundmost costly and difficult to educate—those ing public schools, said Sen. David Jordan, children who don’t have involved families, D-Greenwood. The Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, the formula that provides additional funds for the state’s poorer school districts, has a $1 billion deficit because the lawmakers have not fully funded the formula for eight of the 10 years the formula has been law, he said. “Here we are going to a new model where we actually split the resources that we Activists rallied in support of Mississippi’s abortion clinic. have when we haven’t done an adequate job regulations on the abortion Women’s Health Organizawith a single (model),” he said. Jordan cited drug, RU-486. Lawmakers tion, which is fighting to reinstances where public schools have worked have already submitted two main open. Clinic supportwell to educate children. “All this stuff about anti-abortion measures, a fetal ers called on state lawmakers public education not working is not so. … heartbeat bill and a constitu- to stop erecting obstacles to There are too many unanswered questions tional amendment to define abortion in Mississippi. about charter schools,” he said. life as starting at conception. “I’m sick and tired of Only about 17 percent of charter This week, activists from legislators trying to take schools have been successful, added Rep. both pro-life and pro-choice rights away,” said Cristen Alyce Clark, who moderated the forum. “Let communities staged demon- Hemmins, an Oxford-based us look at what we’re thinking about doing,” strations on the anniversary activist, at a JWHO press so that we don’t go backward, she said. of Roe v. Wade at the Jackson conference Tuesday. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email Ronni 11 Mott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
s contentious as charter schools are, battle lines on other perennial wedge issues are also forming. Rep. Becky Currie, RBrookhaven, has three bills that immigrations-rights activists find worrisome. One, HB 67, imposes more stringent business regulations under the state’s e-Verify law while HB 321 requires cops to take photos of people who are stopped without a valid driver’s license. Finally, HB 198, which
by R.L. Nave
families and educators of children with disabilities have not been at the table,” in the state’s charter-school discussions. Eden Heilman, a New Orleans-based
and advocates on the six-person panel. “For far too many children, education, which is supposed to be the ticket out, does not work as well as it needs to,” said Kenneth L. Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. “… Unfortunately, none of us has the solutions on how to fix it. There is no magic pill that you can take.” Closing the educational achievement gap between white and black students, which Campbell said has stalled at 20 percent to 30 percent for decades, is key to addressing the crisis. “We’ve made very little progress in closing this gap,” he said. “We have set up a system that cannot do what we want it to do at this particular time,” he said, referencing a “two-tiered” education system, where those with money, power and influence have choices others don’t have. People with means can send their children to private schools, for example. Campbell believes Mississippi should see charter schools as one method to provide choice to parents who don’t have them now. But, he said, they won’t solve all of the problems in education. Two speakers brought up concerns about how charter schools would work for children with disabilities. Pam Dollar, executive director of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, cited two studies that showed charter schools have a lower percentage of disabled children than public schools. Resources to care for those children are vital, she said, to not go back to a system where disabled kids are excluded from educational opportunities with their able-bodied peers. “We don’t want to go back to a system of segregation,” Dollar said. Mary Troupe, director of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, agreed. “We really have some concerns,” she said, accountability and transparency among them. “Individuals with disabilities, their
he atmosphere at the Mississippi Capitol got tense for a few moments Thursday when Sen. Kenneth Wayne Jones, D-Canton, leader of the Legislative Black Caucus, questioned the legitimacy of Gov. Phil Bryant’s education policy recommendations. Lucien Smith, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, outlined Bryant’s package of suggested reforms during the Democratic Public Policy Forum on Education, co-hosted by the Mississippi Democratic Trust and the Legislative Black Caucus. Those reforms include how students should be promoted, scholarships and performance-based compensation aimed at producing better teachers, $3 million for early childhood education, and school choice, including vouchers and charter schools. “We’ve been asking for health and education reform for a long time,” Jones said. “So when did white conservatives start getting so adamant about educating African American children and, in the same breath, deny health care? You can be smart, but if you get sick, you’re going to die? That makes us not trust the process itself.” Smith said he understood the skepticism given the state’s history. “We view this as the single largest economic development and quality-of-life issue in our state, and there’s a huge population—white and black—that we’re failing,” he said. “… We want to do it because we want every Mississippian to have a better life and have opportunities that the current system denies them.” Jones wasn’t the only one skeptical of the charter-school bill under debate in the Legislature. The state Senate has already approved a bill revamping the state’s charter-school laws, and it’s likely to pass the House, soon. Charter schools, which are privately run but funded by public tax dollars, had detractors
You Bet I Love Jackson by Reynolds Boykin
â€™m a hometown boy who fell in love with a hometown girl and, thanks to Craig Nooneâ€™s big dreams for Jackson, Iâ€™m living my dream in my hometown. I grew up knowing I wanted to cook and believing that meant I would end up somewhere other than Jackson. After cooking my way through college, I packed my knives, headed to New Orleans and started cooking for Cochon and two of the best chefs in the country, Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski. New Orleans offered everything an aspiring chef would want, but it wasnâ€™t home. Home was Jackson and the people I love most, my family. Jackson was also home to another who left home to cook and returned with a commitment to make Jackson the countryâ€™s next great, small food cityâ€”Craig Noone. Jackson was already a small city with great food and great food people who welcomed the opportunity to work together. I was beyond excited to join the movement when Craig asked me to come home and cook for Parlor Market. I will love Jackson even more when streets are lined with shops and restaurants, sidewalks are filled with people attracted to city, and you can hear the music from Farish Street while enjoying a fine dinner at Parlor Market. PMCN. BBE. (Parlor Market Craig Noone. Best Boss Ever.) Hometown boy Reynolds Boykin is living his dream as sous chef at downtown Jacksonâ€™s Parlor Market and is among those keeping Craig Nooneâ€™s dream alive.
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will read a lot about innovation, teamwork and building alliancesâ€”as well as about a number of candidates wanting to represents parts of the city in the state Senate. In the decade we have published the Jackson Free Press and now BOOM Jackson magazine, weâ€™ve watched the city come a long way on the think-positive front. When the JFP first launched in 2002â€”with the cityâ€™s first Best of Jackson ballot in our very first issueâ€”we were determined to tell true stories about a metropolitan area steeped in negativity and division and in which perceptions about out-of-control crime were spread by people claiming to have the cityâ€™s best interests at heart. We came out of the gate swinging about two things: (1) the cityâ€™s need to challenge dumb negative perceptions and (2) city residentsâ€™ need to really question its leaders, not in a destructive political way but with the goal of helping them serve us better. Helped along by the results of a disastrous mayoral termâ€”Frank Melton, of courseâ€”the city has really started to come together against division and to stand up for itself. When we launched, we saw young people leaving the city in droves; now we watch them stay, or leave and come back after they canâ€™t quite find the same mix of delightful people and world-changing potential in the great yonder. Weâ€™ve chronicled so many positive changes, and every week for going on 11 years, weâ€™ve written stories about below-the-radar people doing amazing things in the city and its suburbsâ€”thatâ€™s hundreds of Jacksonian profiles along with dishes, JFP interviews, Best of Jackson blurbs, features and so
anoint five days a week at jfpdaily.com. (Subscribe free for breaking news and cool event and party invites, like future Best of Jackson parties.) This doesnâ€™t mean we pull needed punches or fail to ask questions that need to be asked. Anyone who reads the JFP knows that. But we donâ€™t ask questions and expose corruption in order to beat anyone, or the city, up. We donâ€™t do any journalism to sing the praises of one political candidate over the other or tear down anyone. We reportâ€”on the positive and the problemsâ€”to make the city better. We urge our readers to do, and demand, the same. In a city where few difficult questions have traditionally been asked by any media outlet, we all need to ask many questions. We need to demand facts, insist on transparency, study campaign finance reports and demand high standards from each other and our elected officials. But that doesnâ€™t mean we get offended because someone disagrees. Think of Abraham Lincoln and his â€œteam of rivals.â€? Lincoln surrounded himself with people who could, and would, challenge his thinking and ideasâ€”not people bent on tearing him down. As a result, ultimately, slavery ended. We can do big things, tooâ€”not by tearing down good efforts, but by getting involved to help fix them and, thus, our city. Ignore those who play negative politics over every issue (especially crime) and elect people who tell us what they will do better, and who show they can build uncomfortable alliancesâ€”not just shoot down their opponents. And you? Be the change we want to see. Be the best and demand the same. Weâ€™ve got this, Jackson.
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MAYOR HARVEY JOHNSON JR. #HEAP 4RASH #OLLECTION
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very other month, I join residents from across our cityâ€”college students, business leaders, grandmothers, men and women, Jacksoniansâ€”for a tour of their hometown. Some of you may have heard of what we call the Pride Ride. I serve as tour guide, and we visit every part of the capital city. Among the things we showcase are ongoing or completed developments, infrastructure projects, new businesses, eclectic neighborhoods and celebrated attractions. Inevitably, during every Pride Ride, citizens express amazement at what they see going on in their city. These rides invigorate our citizens and, many times, we find that people on the rides stay in touch and get more involved in partnering with us. Several weeks ago, the City of Jackson launched a marketing campaign called Celebrate Jackson. One of the overarching themes that we wanted to be sure to convey is that Celebrate Jackson is an inclusive, participatory, and fluid exercise in recognizing all that is wonderful and praiseworthy in our City. Too many times, we allow others to tell our story, and now is the time for us to take back the message and talk our town up! We need to toot our own horn, as it were. I personally travel all over Jackson visiting neighborhoods, businesses, community centers and people every day who share their concerns and ideas with me. Yes, there are often problems that we need to address. There are complaints that we need to look into. No one is denying that we donâ€™t have challenges facing our city, but more often than not, there is an excitement, an energy, that is shared with me among our citizens. Because, by in large, our citizens see the progress we are making, and citizens share with me the fact that they want to help move our city forward. They understand all that Jackson can be and all that it is becoming. We need this sustained energy to be able to continue to improve Jackson, from government, citizens, businesses and everyone who has an interest in seeing the capital city of Mississippi continue to improve and to be an even better city than it is today. I love the fact that we have a wide-
ly read periodical like the Jackson Free Press that continues to celebrate Jackson. Every year in the Best of Jackson issue, the writers and staff celebrate our local talent, our local businesses, our local events and attractions, and so many of our people who work hard every day to make Jackson a better city. Whatâ€™s even more impressive to me is the fact that the readers select the honorees. Thatâ€™s what â€œparticipatoryâ€? looks like. As we move forward in making Jackson the city that we all know it can be, I suggest that we start like we do on the Pride Ride and what the Jackson Free Press does: Celebrate what weâ€™ve already accomplished and recognize the outstanding assets that make us who we are. We have a robust economic-development climate that respected local, regional and national media outlets continually celebrate. Our status as an important destination city for the southeast is growing thanks to our convention center, our cityâ€™s cultural and historical venues, and our array of special events. Jacksonâ€™s reputation as a city thatâ€™s preparing tomorrowâ€™s leaders is well established through internationally recognized institutions of higher learning located right here. And we will soon be at the epicenter of medical technology for the entire region with the realization of the Mississippi Medical Corridor. Individuals who realize that we have to work together to move our city forward have completed developments and made progress. When we harness our collective will and effort, share our ideas with one another and dream together, itâ€™s then that we see all the possibilities for an even brighter future for our great city. So, as we celebrate another Best of Jackson edition of the Jackson Free Press and we applaud the individuals, institutions and businesses each of you chose as the best of the capital city, remember that we have so much to be proud of every day in Jackson. As mayor of Jackson, I am constantly in awe of the collective vision, energy and hope that comes from our people. I truly love the tenacity of our citizens, and it is my great pleasure to serve them every day. For me, the men, women and children who call this place home are the absolute Best of Jackson.
Now is the time for us to take back the message and talk our town up!
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