vol. 15 no. 37
May 17 - 23, 2017 | subscribe free for breaking news at JFPDaily.com
THE JFP INTERVIEW WITH
CHOICE FOR MAYOR Kelly III , pp 16 - 18
Developing the Farish District Dreher, p 8
You Are Invited... Helsel, p 22
Meet Flywalker Smith, p 26
Your Metro Events Calendar is at
N T U R Y O C
KENNY CHESNEY Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, Thompson Square & Russell Dickerson
SATURDAY May 17 - 23, 2017 • jfp.ms
MADISON, MS Baptist Health Systems Campus
For tickets visit cspire.com/concert ©2017 C Spire. All rights reserved.
JACKSONIAN Tasha Rollins Imani Khayyam
used to think Jackson is boring— and it’s not,” Tasha Rollins says. She has seen Jackson change as she grew up, but she says that it still has that kind of small-town vibe that she’s grown to love. Rollins, 35, graduated from Callaway High School and attended Jackson State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2004. After school, she says she was ready to work and wanted to wait to decide whether she wanted to go back to school. She got a job as a teller at BankPlus and has been with the bank ever since. Recently, she became a customer-service representative at the Fondren branch, where she still gets to interact with customers on a daily basis—but now at a much more personal level. “I’m the person you come to, to open your account, discuss financial information, loans and stuff like that,” she says. Rollins says that she always considered herself to be an introvert, but that seemed to change once she started dating Phillip Rollins, who owns Offbeat in midtown. She says she’s transitioning into more of an extrovert these days. The couple married in 2014, and they have one son, Riley, who is 7. Tasha Rollins says the family is at Offbeat a lot on
the weekends, but it doesn’t feel so much like work to her. She used to draw when she was younger, and dating and marrying Phillip has allowed her to engage with the art scene again and start creating things of her own. She says that she’s still the business aficionado in the family, though. “I feel like Phillip is so creative, and I try to take care of as much business stuff as I can as to not interfere with his creativity,” Rollins says. Despite being a full-time working mom, Rollins doesn’t give off an ounce of stress in her voice. She says Riley is an active kid who, like his father, loves talking about video games and comic books. “Riley is the kid who says, ‘Mom, can I tell that other kid about Offbeat so I can give them a tour?’” Rollins says. “In Riley’s eyes, his dad is like a superhero.” The Rollinses live in Belhaven Heights, and while Tasha initially wanted to leave Jackson immediately after graduation for a bigger city, she says things have changed. “I always wanted to leave Jackson … thinking I can’t wait to graduate and get out of here, and as I became an adult, I don’t feel that way at all,” she says. “It is a place that I do want to stay, (a place) that I do see is growing and progressing, and you know I want to stay here.” —Arielle Dreher
cover photo of Jason Wells by Imani Khayyam
6 ............................ Talks 12 ................... editorial 13 ...................... opinion 16 ............ Cover Story 20 ........... food & Drink 22 ...................... Hitched 24 ......................... 8 Days 25 ........................ Events
10 Mental Health Crisis
Where do the two lawsuits filed against the state stand, and what’s at stake for Mississippians who need mental-health care?
20 Holy (Barbecue) Smoking
“The running joke is that if you’re in the kitchen, and you pick up a spoon or a knife, then you’re a Holy Smoker.” —Joe Surkin, “Holy Smokers, Batman!”
25 ....................... sports 26 .......................... music 26 ........ music listings 28 ...................... Puzzles 29 ......................... astro 29 ............... Classifieds
26 The Next Step
Darrin Givens, also known as Flywalker, may be a hip-hop producer, but he plans to launch himself as a rapper in the near future.
May 17 - 23, 2017 • jfp.ms
4 ............ Editor’s Note
courtesy flywalker; imani khayyam; arielle dreher
May 17 - 23, 2017 | Vol. 15 No. 37
by Amber Helsel, Managing Editor
Oh, The Places I May Go
hile I may look just like my mom and have some of her habits and traits, we’re incredibly different. For one thing, she’s tall, and I’m short. I can be wishywashy, and she’s straightforward. But one of the biggest differences is that I’m progressive, and she and my stepdad are conservative. We generally agree to disagree, and politics is one subject we don’t often broach. It seems to work that way. Since I’m living with my parents while I search for a house, politics has been a little more of a common topic, though I still try to stay out of it. Late one night recently when I was making a sandwich in the kitchen, my mom came out of her room because I was making too much noise. As we talked about a house I had turned down in Fondren, I made a comment about Chokwe Antar Lumumba winning the Democratic primary, and how I thought he could potentially make the city better. Then, something weird happened: She agreed with me. To say I was floored is an understatement. I think the last time we agreed on something political was when we both thought Proposition 26 (Personhood) shouldn’t pass (thank goodness it didn’t), and that was when I was in college. But she agreed with me on Lumumba, and since the Jackson Free Press endorsed him, she in essence agreed with the paper for once. “He’s young, and he’s smart,” she told me. And I agreed. When she went back to bed, I stood there eating my sandwich and thinking about how Jackson has the ability to bridge those political gaps. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat from south Jackson or a Republican from Rankin County. We can all agree that the
city needs help. It needs better infrastructure; the water issues need to be figured out; the potholes need to be filled; the schools need more funding. The list goes on and on. Maybe that’s the beauty of a place like Jackson. It’s sometimes so politically and racially divided, but sometimes it can also join people together because we can all see the problems, and most of us want them fixed. I know that most people probably
Most people probably don’t want to see the capital city crumble. don’t want to see the capital city crumble. More people than I think we realize want to make Jackson better. When I started my house search, my original plan wasn’t to look in Hinds County. I made excuses—the high property taxes, the higher car-tag cost, the infrastructure and water issues. But when I got tired of seeing the same kind of houses in Rankin County, and realized that I might be meant to live somewhere else, I began to really consider the reasons I didn’t want to move to Jackson. And I realized that, deep down, I really do want to live here. Yes, the city has problems, but I could have the same issues in Rankin or Madison. After all, the entire state is built on Yazoo clay, so no area will be completely perfect,
and car-tag prices suck all around. But there’s a much larger reason I want to live here. In Rankin County, I don’t feel like I’m part of a community. I mean, sure, we had a tiny community when I lived in Crossgates, but it was just that one neighborhood, and really that one street. There doesn’t seem to be a larger movement anywhere in some of the suburban and rural towns to actually be part of a community. Maybe Livingston, but if car tags are a problem, then you know I can’t afford to live there. Jackson has that community. We have monthly events like Fondren After 5 and Museum After Hours, and annual events like Stray at Home, which was this past weekend. We have parks where food trucks can come hang out. Almost every time that I go into one of the McDade’s locations or a local restaurant, I recognize at least one person, or someone recognizes me. (I’ll never get used to someone knowing me from all of my JFP writing). You might not get that same thing in Rankin County, unless you go all the way out to the Ramey’s Marketplace in downtown Brandon—that’s one of the few somewhat-local grocery stores. The outer-metro cities and towns also don’t focus as much on local business (though places such as Canton seem to). Flowood has some local businesses, and Brandon has more because of its downtown area, but you won’t find as many craft festivals or makers markets outside of Jackson. We don’t have block parties in Rankin County, not that we never could. They just don’t happen, or at least, don’t happen as often. Or maybe they do happen, and I just haven’t been paying enough attention. (It’s highly possible).
For the last few years, Brandon has been merely a place where I live. Sure, when I lived in my apartment, I enjoyed going to restaurants such as Kismet’s, but I spent 90 percent of my life in Jackson. I’d spend eight or nine hours a day at the JFP office and then go find something else to do. I’d go and take pictures of the train graffiti at the rail yard in midtown, or I’d go to Wasabi Sushi & Bar in downtown Jackson. I normally wouldn’t get home until around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. If I did get home earlier, it was probably because I had a crap day and didn’t want to deal with people anymore. Except for the lady who lived below me, I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I’d come home, watch anime or some TV show, maybe work on art and then go to sleep. With me living so far outside of Brandon’s city center now, I spend even time in Jackson because I hate the drive home. I don’t know what life would be like if I lived in Jackson, but I can guarantee you that I’d enjoy it more because there is more to do. I thrive in a place where there are always places to go, things to do and people to see. Plus, I wouldn’t have to drive so long to get somewhere. I’m not sure where the house search will take me. At this point, I’m up for almost anything, so whether or not I’ll end up in Jackson is still up in the air (though I hope I do). But wherever I end up, I hope it’s closer to the city so I can do more gallivanting around the pothole-covered streets of Jackson. What’s life without occasionally having to get a front-end alignment? Managing Editor Amber Helsel is a wanderer and wonderer, otaku-in-training and a curious Gemini who likes art, cats, food, music, all things kawaii and more. Email story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
William H. Kelly III
City Reporting Intern William H. Kelly III is a student at Jackson State University and is originally from Houston, Texas. Send him city news tips at william@jacksonfreepress. com. He interviewed mayoral candidate Jason Wells.
News Reporter Arielle Dreher is working on finding some new hobbies and adopting an otter from the Jackson Zoo. Email her story ideas at email@example.com. She wrote about mental health and Farish District housing.
Staff Photographer Imani Khayyam is an art lover and a native of Jackson. He loves to be behind the camera and capture the true essence of his subjects. He took lots and lots of photos for the issue. He knows everyone in Jackson.
Events Editor Tyler Edwards loves film, TV and all things pop culture. He’s a Jackson native and will gladly debate the social politics of comic books. Send events to firstname.lastname@example.org. He wrote about the Holy Smokers culinary group.
Music Editor Micah Smith is married to a great lady, has two dog-children named Kirby and Zelda, and plays in the band Empty Atlas. Send gig info to email@example.com. He wrote about hip-hop beat producer Flywalker.
Sales and Marketing Assistant Mary Osborne is seeking out new ways to share all things good, all the time, because what the world needs now is love. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales and Marketing Consultant Myron Cathey is a graduate of Jackson State University. He enjoys meeting new people and working with local businesses in the metro Jackson area.
Zilpha Young is an ad designer by day, painter, illustrator, seamstress and freelance designer by night. Check out her design portfolio at zilphacreates.com. She designed ads for the issue.
May 17 - 23, 2017 â€¢ jfp.ms
“We need to invest in our transportation infrastructure like our economy depends upon it, because it does.” — Scott Crawford, an advocate for people with disabilities, at the Working Together Jackson assembly.
Wednesday, May 10 Donald Trump reveals classified information from Israel about the Islamic State to Russian diplomats the day after firing FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating possible Russian collusion in Trump’s presidential campaign. Thursday, May 11 U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., says at a Jackson town-hall meeting that AHCA would affect the majority of people in the state who rely on Medicare and Medicaid and could increase the cost of seniors’ premiums.
Saturday, May 13 A group that includes well-known white nationalist Richard Spencer carries tiki torches and chants “you will not replace us” at a protest in Virginia over plans to remove a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
Sunday, May 14 Lawmakers from both parties reprimand Donald Trump for his firing of FBI Director James Comey and urge him to steer clear of appointing any partisan politicians to the post.
Monday, May 15 U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. sentences a Mississippi man named Joshua Vallum to 49 years in prison for the murder of his sex partner Mercedes Williamson, the first conviction on federal hate crime charges arising from the murder of a transgender woman. … The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian diplomats in meeting closed off to U.S. media outlets. Tuesday, May 16 Rev. Ernest Slaughter and Rev. Aaron Banks face off in a municipal primary run-off for the position of Ward 6 city councilman.
Get breaking news at jfpdaily.com.
Incoming, Hopeful City Leaders Pledge to Help Rebuild Jackson by William H. Kelly III
oncerned citizens and members of religious institutions gathered last week in the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in south Jackson to ask the Democratic nominee for Jackson mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and several presumptive city-council candidates to pledge to help rebuild Jackson. Working Together Jackson, a coalition of faith-based and nonprofit organizations, hosted the forum called “The Rebuilding Jackson Accountability and Get Out the Vote Assembly.” WTJ has a history of meeting with mayoral and city council candidates to ask them to, if elected, publicly pledge to hold themselves accountable in helping rebuild the capital city and meet regularly with WTJ to find solutions to city issues. Lumumba and the council members and candidates who showed up pledged to address city infrastructure, access to fresh foods, blight and dilapidated housing. Several Jacksonians explained their personal experiences with these issues. Views from the Streets Mary Jackson, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church near Jackson State University, shared that she was asked to pay $2,800 for damaging her
tires, although she has road-hazard insurance. “I am a frequent traveler of Mill Street here in Jackson, and I thought I had become an expert at dodging those potholes,” Jackson said. “But I came down one day just two or three months ago, and for every two that I missed, I hit two others.” She added that “the devil is in the
fine print,” with the dealership refusing to allow her insurance to cover all the costs due to the tires being damaged but not punctured. She ended up paying $1,000 for tire damages. Scott Crawford, who uses a wheelchair and often speaks out about Jackson’s failure to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act, then disImani KHayyam
Friday, May 12 Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas blocks an earlier state order that would close All American Check Cashers, one of Mississippi’s largest payday lenders.
Developers plan to add 70 new homes in the Farish Street Historic District p8
Ward 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps signs the accountability board at the Working Together Jackson assembly Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in south Jackson. Stamps is unopposed for the June 6 general election.
More Headlines That Don’t Exist—But Should
by Micah Smith We can sum up the current president’s attitude toward the media as follows: Well-reported stories are “fake news,” and crackpot insanity shouted into a microphone is reliable. It’s basically a “Freaky Friday” scenario. But in a world of Lindsay Lohans and Jamie Lee Curtises, we thought we’d have some fun falling somewhere in the middle. Here are a few headlines that don’t exist but should.
Fa s t e s t M ay o r A l i v e :
C a n d i d at e s H o l d
Run-off Pa p e r f r o m
R e - a n i m at e s T r u mp W i l l Sh a r e Cl a s s i f i e d D o c s , ‘ N ot M y Ic e C r e a m ’
P o l i c i e s A r e ‘ N at u r e H at e s ‘ K i n d a O u t d at e d ’ R a c i s m ’ :
Trumpcare Act C
l o s e D i s s o lv e s O n ly R e c y c l e d f o r H at s Th e m s e l v e s R e b e l Fl a g s
— Jason Wells, Republican nominee for Jackson mayor, in his cover interview with the Jackson Free Press (see pages 16-18).
Most viral stories at jacksonfreepress.com
1. “Rep. Bennie Thompson Speaks on ‘Trumpcare,’ Reasons for Comey Firing” by Arielle Dreher 2. “Making of a Landslide: Chokwe A. Lumumba and a Changing Jackson” by Donna Ladd 3. “A ‘State of Seige’ in Madison County?” by Arielle Dreher 4. “Onward and Upward” by Tony Yarber 5. “Emily Jones Caraway” by Morgan Gallon
Most viral events at jfpevents.com:
1. Dinner & A Movie: Food Truck Festival Vol. 4 2. “Sordid Lives,” May 18-21 3. Greekfest 2017, May 19-21 4. Midfest 2017, May 20 5. Cajun Fest, May 21 Find more events at jfpevents.com.
‘Not Safe for our Children’ Mario Hardy said his family has lived in a total of three homes in the past two years, struggling to find affordable housing options that are both clean and safe. The first home, located in Jackson, was infested with rodents, he said. “The area was not safe for our children to play outside and the apartment was infested with mice. Every day, not an exaggeration, every day, three to four mice we would kill every single day,” Hardy detailed, generating distasteful crowd reactions. Once the lease expired in 2016, Hardy moved his family to Byram, where the rent was unaffordable but living conditions met his expectations. This year, Hardy was forced to move back to Jackson due to the cost of living, however, and his current home is infested with gnats. Closing was Walter Bishop, who introduced himself as the uncle of Marquez Schaffer, 22, who was shot this past January near Minerva and Olin streets. Bishop described the area his nephew was killed in as a “haven for all kinds of criminal activities.” “My family and I still have to try to come to grips with what happened to Marquez but not only that, we are still hoping that our city leaders will continue the work to eliminate all those dilapidated houses … it’s not just right there where Marquez was killed, but it’s all over the city, and we need to eliminate those situations…,” Bishop said. Pledging to Jackson Following the testimonies from citizens, the members of Working Together Jackson asked Lumumba, the likely mayor after his romp in the Democratic primary of nine candidates, for his support on various topics, including workforce development, education, food access, and blight elimination and homeownership. In particular, WTJ supports Jackson 500, a collaboration between the group, Hinds Community College and the City of Jackson, to teach Jacksonians “trades” like plumbing and welding. Applicants do not need a GED or diploma to get into the program. “I will certainly be an ally, and I
— Gov. Phil Bryant speaking to the Mental Health Summit at the Jackson Hilton last week.
will certainly help support the development of Jackson 500 and seeing to it that we secure the necessary resources,” Lumumba said while responding to Alvin Buckley, a member of the panel. Buckley asked Lumumba if he will work to connect infrastructure jobs and other jobs to the Jackson 500 Partnership. Dana Larkin, who focused on edu-
mit meeting to begin development of a fresh-food finance initiative. After committing to working with WTJ to find funding for blight eradication, Lumumba closed: “I want to once again thank you for the opportunity to join you to make this commitment to Working Together Jackson, (and) more importantly make this commitment to Imani KHayyam
cussed the JATRAN bus system’s lack of adequate funding. “Nothing happens in my world without transportation,” Crawford said. “For decades now our community bus service, JATRAN, has slowly declined due to under funding by the city. You may not ride the bus, but I can assure you people you depend on do.” In September 2008, Crawford and other members of what he called the “disabilities community” sued the City of Jackson to enforce the ADA. After two years, they managed to get a consent decree that only lasted three years—which is now obsolete. “We need to invest in our transportation infrastructure like our economy depends upon it, because it does,” Crawford said, followed by applause. He closed by saying that Jackson needs a continuous bus replacement program and to build complete streets that are safe for all people. As far as infrastructure needs, Lumumba plans to enforce his father’s 1-percent-sales-tax plan, he says, using it for “leverage.” In an interview (see page 16), the Republican candidate for Jackson mayor, Jason Wells, stated that he is willing to give up $60,000 of his salary to help fix the infrastructure in Jackson.
“I have some conflict with the Department of Mental Health—I’ll admit that. I’m not mad at them; we just don’t agree on some things.”
Mary Jackson, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, has experienced infrastructure problems in Jackson that damaged her tires. She shared her experiences at the Working Together Jackson forum last week.
cation, asked Lumumba how will he improve Jackson Public Schools. “Traditionally, we’ve seen the role of mayor and administration of the city just simply appoint school-board members and then wash our hands away from the school board,” Lumumba said. “We’ll make certain that so long as it’s our responsibility to appoint schoolboard members, we will appoint people who have a progressive ideology of not only (the) curriculum but the methodology of teaching so that we engage our students, and they find the learning process to be engaging and attractive to them,” the presumptive mayor added. At the Youth Mayoral Forum in April, Lumumba mentioned creating a position for a younger person on the school board to have input. On the topic of food access, Lumumba committed to convene with WTJ and Hinds County within the first three months of his term, in a sum-
the City of Jackson.” He added: “You have my commitment. You have my commitment that I will work with you regularly, (and) that I will meet with you regularly as my father did, I will do the same.” Jackson City Councilmen De’Keither Stamps and Ashby Foote; Ward 7 nominee Virgi Lindsay; and Ward 6 runoff-bound Aaron Banks and Ernest Slaughter also came to the microphone one-by-one to announce and sign their pledge to work with WTJ on the same issues. All the leaders agreed as well to meet with the group at least once per quarter to discuss these issues. Banks and Slaughter were headed to a May 16 run-off at press time. See jacksonfreepress.com for the result. Email city reporting intern William H. Kelly III at william@ jacksonfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter at @ William_Reports.
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
“That means even if I don’t get charter schools here, you can bring them to City Hall and we (can) tutor them.”
TALK | city
Developer Expanding Farish District Housing by Arielle Dreher
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
lusters of affordable housing units line the blocks di- their homes after they’ve lived there for a period of 15 years. that people are still central to the community.” rectly west of Greenwood Cemetery, in the heart of Rhodes said he gets calls regularly from people wantChapman told the Jackson Free Press that at the end the Farish Street Historic District. Their Easter-egg of the 15 years, the program allows Chartre to sell the home ing to live in Helm Place, and Chartre developers said they hues stand out starkly in contrast to a few burnt- to the resident, for $50,000, with “no money down, no stopped adding names to the 300-person wait list. out and blighted homes and vacant lots around them. qualifying, no closing cost and we guarantee them a 15-year One row of units off Monument Street, though, look term at 8 percent interest.” Residents do not accrue equity Expanding Helm Place like a movie scene of suburbia, with houses facing inward until they get to the end of first 15 years by federal law. After Chartre has already purchased enough lots to expand on a single lane lined with sidewalks. On a Wednesday that time period, developers are not confined by rent-re- a third phase of affordable housing in the Farish Street morning, it is silent in the neighborhood. The community strictive requirements and can lease or sell the properties as Historic District, using a different tax-credit program that center, which sits at the entrance to this row of homes, is they choose. Rent-restrictive tenants “are protected against requires Chapman to secure funding from other donors. glaringly white and pristine. (He said they are talking to the W.K. Kel The community, called Helm logg and Walmart Foundations). He says Place, is an 88-home affordable most of Helm Place III will be built on housing development enabled by a lots Chartre bought from the state, which tax credit program and federal fundowned several parcels in the area that came ing. The name “Helm Place” comes into its possession after the original owners from Mount Helm Baptist Church, neglected to pay property tax. the oldest African American church “We are going to start demolishin Jackson, which is also in the Farish ing the old houses that are on about 15 of Street Historic District. these lots in the next couple of weeks, and Chartre Consulting Ltd., an we’re going to clear all the lots we’re dealing Oxford, Miss.-based developer, built with—which will clean up the area drastithe property using a tax-credit procally,” Chapman said. gram, and the group received two Construction on the 70 new townawards, one national, for the develhomes will begin in about three months. opment in 2016. Chapman said in building Helm I and II, On May 10, Gov. Phil Bryconstruction crews found some homeless ant visited the community center at people living in abandoned homes, but Helm Place to congratulate Chartre said Helm Place, including Phase III, will owner Clarence Chapman and his not displace anyone. Helm Place, an affordable-housing development in the Farish Street Historic team. The room, although not full, “We have not displaced a single leDistrict, won a national award last week. Chartre, the Oxford, Miss.-based did not reflect the demographics gal resident,” Chapman said. developer, plans to expand the neighborhood in 2017. of the community that lives there. Chartre will make less money deHelm Place is a predominantly Afriveloping Helm Place III due to the specific can American neighborhood; most of the developers taking eviction or large rent increases for an additional three years,” tax-credit program they are using; the developer will have photos with the governor were white. to pay the gap loan back. The company will make $70,000 the Mississippi Home Corporation website says. Bryant called Helm Place a “cycle-breaking opportu- Residents at Helm Place must follow a specific set of to $90,000 per home when they sell Helm Place I and II nity” for the 88 families that live there. “[W]e began the rules to stay in the community and pay the $650 rent. homes, easily over $6 million. For Helm Place III, Chartre process of building this great community back. I think “One thing that’s unusual that we do is we require will not make those back-end sales. you’ve seen the award-winning homes, sidewalks that chil- them to not break the law while they live there, and state “It’s a significant commitment for us to do this,” dren can play on (in) hopefully a safer, nurturing environ- law requires children 16 and under to be in school, so if they Chapman said. ment now for this community that is a model,” he said. Federal funds and tax credits make communities like have a child drop out, it terminates their lease,” Chapman The development got the approval of not just Bryant told the Jackson Free Press. Chapman praised the option Helm Place possible. The Mississippi Home Corporation but also now-deceased Mayor Chokwe Lumumba back in for families to purchase their home at the end of a 15-year administers federal HUD funds and tax-credit programs. 2014, something that Rev. CJ Rhodes, who pastors Mount lease at the press conference last week. President Donald Trump’s initial budget plans inHelm, said helped convince him to support the project ini- “Probably the most amazing thing we accomplish ... cluded cuts to HUD, which would affect construction tially. It was not often that Lumumba and Bryant agreed, is we advance the emotional and mental maturity of the of neighborhoods like Helm Place. Bryant does not seem Rhodes said. “In fact, they were both at the church when children in these homes by a generation versus where they concerned about HUD funding cuts, however. He told rewe did the big dedication—they were both sitting next to would have lived for 15 years … we are slowly helping put porters on May 10 that he met with HUD Secretary Ben each other,” Rhodes told the Jackson Free Press. Carson in April and is confident that Carson understands our communities back together,” Chapman said May 10. Rhodes said some of his long-time church members how important HUD funding is to a state like Mississippi. The Tax Credit Benefit “One of the reasons I was there (in D.C.), and of course live in Helm Place, and he estimates that the community is In order to live in Helm Place properties, residents almost entirely African American. He said it is generation- working with Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker’s offices, is must make 60 percent or less of the median area income in ally diverse, however. to let the secretary know what this funding is going for and Jackson. Residents signed up for annual leases, and Chartre “I think the biggest thing that’s beneficial is that, at what a life-changing opportunity it is for people,” Bryant is required to keep its rent restrictive to tenants in this in- least to date, nothing about those fears of gentrification said. “Dr. Carson was raised in the ghetto by a single mom. come bracket for 15 years, tax-credit program information have panned out,” Rhodes told the Free Press. “This has He understands what housing can do for a young child and from the Mississippi Home Corporation website shows. basically restored a sense of what Farish Street was in many a family, so I think you’re going to see funding for these types Tenants have an option to lease and then purchase ways with a generational mix and what not—and the fact of projects where someone can lease and then buy a home.”
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In compliance with the following: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 of the Higher Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other applicable Federal and State Acts, Hinds Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, Vice President for Administrative Services, 34175 Hwy. 18, Utica, MS 39175, 601.885.7002. Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Associate Vice President for Student Services & Title IX Coordinator, Box 1100 Raymond Campus (Denton Hall 221), Raymond, MS 39154, 601.857.3232, titleIX@hindscc.edu
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May 17 - 23, 2017 • jfp.ms
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The Battle for Children’s Mental Health by Arielle Dreher
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
health budgets is about partisan politics. “We must stop politicizing the care of children,” Bryant told the summit. Budget concerns are not at the forefront of Bryant’s concerns for mental-health care in the state, and he pushed back on news reports that Mississippi is in a financial crisis, citing the state’s $280-million rainy-day fund. He said at the summit that if the state was in financial crisis, it would look like California, Louisiana or Alabama.
over-reliance on institutions, he told the Associated Press the lawsuit was “another attempt by the federal government to dictate policy to the states through the courts.” Bryant told the Mental Health Summit crowd on May 12 that he hopes the Department of Mental Health is not reducing its financial support to other groups, such as Families as Allies, because the governor has met with them. Bryant also renewed the push for a children’s cabinet, which is a Arielle Dreher
isa Fuller, a Mississippi mother of two in Madison, stood up at the Children’s Mental Health Summit at the Jackson Hilton on May 12 to explain her laborious journey of finding care and support for her two daughters: one who has high-functioning autism and the other who has anxiety and depression disorders. Fuller had to send both of her daughters out of state to receive inpatient treatment at therapeutic boarding schools. She acknowledged that her family was fortunate to be able to afford the treatment her daughters needed. “Quality treatment programs should be available for everyone—it shouldn’t be for just people like me who have a really good job and can afford it,” Fuller told mostly mental-health and child-care professionals at the summit last week. “I don’t make a whole lot of money, but I am willing to sacrifice, and that’s what my family and I have done.” Fuller sent her oldest daughter to a school in Utah, after several attempts at other programs and schools around the country. She is now in public school and doing well after spending time away. Her youngest, who suffers from anxiety and depression, ran away from the school Fuller sent her to in Mississippi. After she completed a program in Georgia, the younger daughter went to a therapeutic boarding school in North Carolina, and she has progressed tremendously—from running away again to becoming student of the week. The Madison mother reiterated that all children deserve quality care—even the families that cannot afford to pay for it. Fuller told the story of one girl who was at school with her youngest in Georgia whose mother had to take her out near Christmas because she could not afford the tuition and high costs to keep her there. “Her daughter committed suicide New Year’s Eve, at 14 years old. … The point I’m making is if that child’s mother could have afforded the program …, she would probably still be with us today,” Fuller said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do nationally, not just in our state to provide funding to allow families to have help.” ‘We Just Don’t Agree’ Gov. Phil Bryant spoke before Fuller came to the podium and had to leave the summit immediately, missing her story. The governor’s primary message was that criticism of the State’s cuts to mental10
Gov. Phil Bryant, who is a named defendant in the amended complaint for children’s mental-health care, called on the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to expand community-based services for kids at the Children’s Mental Health Summit in Jackson last week.
“We’re going to do just fine, and we’re going to continue to take care of these children,” the governor said. Bryant said he was troubled with some state agencies, namely the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. “I have some conflict with the Department of Mental Health—I’ll admit that. I’m not mad at them; we just don’t agree on some things,” he said about DMH with agency representatives sitting in the room. “See,” Bryant continued, “I agree that we need to work harder to make sure our children have home and communitybased services that they can continue to go to school and play with their friends … and still receive treatment.” “The idea that we’re going to continue to take children and place them in institutions somewhere for extended periods of time is something that we’ve got to get past,” the governor added. This is one of the first times Bryant has publicly acknowledged communitybased services as a best practice. In fact, last August when DOJ sued the state for its
proposal for all state agencies that deal with children’s emotional, physical, and mental health to be under one agency and report to the governor. “I may not be able to formally establish a governor’s children cabinet—I haven’t given up on that, but I can help through coordination, and we’re going to do that,” Bryant said last week. Legislation to establish a children’s cabinet as well as an attempt to move the Department of Mental Health under the governor’s purview died in the 2017 legislative session. Currently, the department is run by an executive director, appointed by the Board of Mental Health, which is composed of governor appointees. Ongoing, Shifting Battle In the meantime, the court battle for Mississippi children seeking access to mental health care in their communities has changed drastically. A lawsuit filed in 2010 seeking community-based services for all minors in the state is now focused on relief for a single
plaintiff, L.S., who has a moderate intellectual developmental disability and a cooccurring mental illness. Lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center filed the amended complaint on behalf of the 19-year-old back in April 2017, but the Jackson Free Press has confirmed that the SPLC is officially off the case. L.S. is represented by a new lawyer but still seeks treatment and services in his community—not in institutions. “L.S. has been needlessly institutionalized for the majority of his adolescence …. (He) has cycled through hospitals, acute care facilities, residential treatment facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities, and group homes without obtaining any long-term relief,” the April amended complaint states. The State denies these claims, however, in its response filed earlier this month. L.S. seeks access to the proper services for his developmental disability—which the Americans with Disabilities Act requires states to provide. Attorney General Jim Hood said he hopes to reach some agreement in the new case, formerly referred to as Troupe v. Barbour. The State still faces a lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice brought against Mississippi for over-relying on institutionalization to care for adults who need mental-health care. “There’s one plaintiff in the Troupe complaint now—hopefully we can accommodate that person and reach some agreement so that our energies are spent in the DOJ case, which will address some of the same issues, which is why we originally tried to consolidate it, but yeah, hopefully we’ll be able to work that out,” the attorney general said earlier in May. The State’s challenges with mental health could get more complicated come July as the Mississippi Department of Mental Health deals with a cut of almost $20 million that officials estimate means a loss of 650 employees by the end of June. In a May 2 letter to Gov. Phil Bryant about the special session, which will likely include a bill for Hood’s office budget, the attorney general said his office needs additional funds to cover the costs of litigating the DOJ case—to the tune of $1.72 million to hire a document handling firm, policy experts and outside counsel. Arielle Dreher at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @arielle_amara.
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May 17 - 23, 2017 • jfp.ms
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A Health-Care Oligarchy
urse Tootie McBride: “Welcome to the Focus on Health Care Town Hall Meeting. “The politicians are diligent, persistent and determined to establish a health-care oligarchy. The tables are tilted toward the rich, and the game is rigged against the poor. Common folk from all walks of life are angry and have lost confidence in the principles of truth, justice and the American way. While the president wants to put certain Americans first, I want residents of the Ghetto Science Community to focus on affordable and accessible health care for themselves. “Now, imagine purchasing medicine at no more than $10 per prescription. Affordable drugs will become a reality because the Ghetto Science Medical Committee and Aunt ‘Tee Tee’ Hustle, computer guru and technology expert, will establish an affordable prescription network. All I have to say is: ‘Come and get your 30-day supply of affordable blood-pressure medicine.’ “Visualize an affordable co-pay for a doctor visit. How about no co-pay? This might come true because compassionate doctors like doctors Marcus ‘Welby’ McBride and Ben ‘Casey’ McBride are willing to provide inexpensive medical services for the working poor. “Imagine a health-care system that does not discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions. “Jesus and God Almighty would be pleased to know that doctors, nurses, and pharmacies have done to the least of these who are poor and sick. “Affordable and accessible health care are a ‘dream come true’ away. Just believe and receive.”
‘No Crisis’ “We’re not in a ﬁnancial crisis.” –Gov. Phil Bryant on the State of Mississippi’s money troubles
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
Why It Stinks: Gov. Phil Bryant railed against the media three separate times while speaking at the Mental Health Summit at the Jackson Hilton last week. “It’s as if you write that enough and report that enough in the media, we’re going to believe it. … We’re not in a financial crisis,” he said. Bryant pointed to the state’s rainy-day fund as proof that Mississippi is not headed toward a financial crisis, never mind the fact that the state’s public-health and mental-health departments will have to lay off hundreds of workers and cut vital services due to budget cuts this year. Services for the state’s most vulnerable residents are at stake, so while it might not be a “crisis” for Bryant, his backers or his contemporaries, for those losing health 12 services or their jobs, crisis is the exact right word to use.
Pointing Fingers Won’t Help Mental Health Crisis
ov. Phil Bryant had a clarion call for politicians and state agencies last week at the Mental Health Summit, which Canopy Children’s Solutions hosted. “We must stop politicizing the care of children,” he told a room full of mental-health care and children’s service providers. This is true. But to stop politicizing, the state needs leadership and action from its top political leader. In the same speech, Bryant went on to slam the Mississippi Department of Mental Health for not offering enough community-based services, seemingly blaming the bureaucracy of the agency for the state’s mental health-care problems. It’s too late for blame games, however. Mississippi is just beginning to wade into litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice, which sued in 2017 over overreliance on institutionalization to care for Mississippians with mental illnesses. Attorney General Jim Hood informed Gov. Bryant this month that the DOJ litigation will cost the state $1.7 million in fiscal-year 2018 alone. In the meantime, the state’s Department of Mental Health is reeling from budget cuts that mean hundreds of lost jobs. Does the state’s mental-health department over-rely on institutionalization? Probably—hence the lawsuit. Is budget cuts fix that? Absolutely not. We need the governor to understand that fixing mental-health care in the state will take coordination and upfront investment to transfer the department’s staff and resources to community-based solutions and away from state hospitals.
Bryant, instead, has asked for a “children’s cabinet” to solve and coordinate the state’s programs for children. This might be a plausible solution, but it didn’t pass the Legislature this year—and the state does not have time to flounder on mental-health solutions. The governor is responsible for the state’s Board of Mental Health. He appoints all nine members, so his railing against an agency run by a board he half-appointed (at least) is disingenuous. If Bryant really wanted things to change, he could have been working for years now. He inherited the 2010 Troupe v. Barbour lawsuit, which targeted the lack of mental-health care services for youth and the state’s over-reliance on institutions. Mississippi’s mental-health care problems are not secrets, and yet only when the DOJ sues the state and after speaking with some community advocates does the governor start talking about community-based services. Instead of pitting agency against advocacy organizations with budget cuts, Bryant needs to lead. He has the power in this state to bring together his board and advocates. If the state is going to avoid spending millions litigating this case (like Georgia has), the time is now. Pointing fingers at this group or that agency is not how you solve the mental-health care problem in Mississippi. It’s going to take more money, more qualified workers and a willingness from all invested parties to make a unified effort toward communitybased services—potentially saving millions of dollars. So, stop pointing fingers, and get to work.
Email letters and opinion to email@example.com, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to 125 South Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, as well as factchecked.
Joe Atkins The Democratic Old Guard
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XFORDâ€” In March, when Bernie Sanders stood on the podium at the â€œMarch on Mississippiâ€? in Canton and told the crowd that â€œthe eyes of the country and the eyes of the world are on you,â€? thousands cheered. The Vermont senator and unsuccessful presidential contender was the big draw of that event, and his presence indeed put a national spotlight on the longstanding struggle of Nissan workers in Canton to have an intimidation-free union election. â€œOne worker has zero power,â€? Sanders said, â€œbut when workers stand together, you have power. There is a reason why large multinational corporations have come to the South. Theyâ€™re told workers in the South will not stand up. Itâ€™s a race to the bottom. Our job is to tell Corporate America they cannot have it all.â€? If the eyes of the nation and world were on Canton that day, were the eyes of the national Democratic Party? Itâ€™s unlikelyâ€”a great irony when you consider how organized labor has been the partyâ€™s most stalwart supporter since before Franklin Roosevelt. Under the leadership of the Democratic National Committee and its new chair, Tom Perez, todayâ€™s party looks backward, not forward. Its eyes are still searching for excuses for its miserable failure in the 2016 presidential election. Why? The Hillary Clinton wing still rules the DNC, and thus comes the endless groaning about alleged Russian interference in the election rather than the soulsearching it needs to move forward. The party has poured more than $8 million into Jon Ossoffâ€™s congressional bid in a wealthy suburban district in Atlanta. Ossoff is the classic Clinton Democratâ€”a darling of celebrities who is fluent in French and studied at the London School of Economics and Georgetown University. Heâ€™s hoping to win conservative support by talking about cutting $16 billion in â€œwasteful spendingâ€? from the federal budget. In other words, heâ€™s not a Bernie Sanders kind of guy who can easily work a crowd of blue-collar assembly-line workersâ€”whether itâ€™s Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio or Minnesota. Yet many of those are among the folks who used to vote solidly Democratic but turned to Donald Trump last November because at least he talked about issues that are important to them.
The DNC had a chance last month to support such a candidate in Kansas, James Thompson, a progressive populist in the Sanders style who was running for Congress. What did the DNC do? Practically nothing. Thompson had a real shot in the election but lost after getting only token support from the Democratic bigwigs. DNC Chair Perez won his position after he defeated Keith Ellison, the candidate that Sanders supported. His two predecessors, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile, both resigned amid allegations of using their positions to push for Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Meanwhile, Sanders continues to rally young people and blue-collar workers around the country in an effort to offer future voters a real choice in the next election. He has launched an interview show broadcast on Facebook that allows for serious discussion of issues that matter to Americans. In other words, something other than tired conspiracy theories about last Novemberâ€™s election. One of Sandersâ€™ guests was Rev. William Barber, leader of North Carolinaâ€™s â€œMoral Mondayâ€? movement and the stateâ€™s NAACP president. Barber is one of the most dynamic social-justice activists in the country today, the kind of fiery supporter of civil rights and labor that used to be the heart of the Democratic Party. The Barber broadcast got nearly a million viewers. Four-and-a-half million viewers watched another show that featured science educator and global warming critic Bill Nye. Most of the viewers ranged in age from 18 to 45. Hillary Clinton thought she could win the 2016 presidential race on the same politics of her husband, politics that seem liberal on the surfaceâ€”pro-choice, multicultural, racially sensitiveâ€”but are just as wedded to Wall Street, big banks, and race-to-the-bottom corporations as your garden-variety Republican. Sanders offered a different vision, and the party under whose banner he campaigned did everything it could to undermine him. Itâ€™s a vision that still inspires and gives hope to many, but donâ€™t expect the Democratic old guard to be among them. Joe Atkins is a journalist and professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. His blog is laborsouth.blogspot.com.
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Bernie Sanders offered a different vision.
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Jason Wells’ GOP Dream: First Mayor, Then President by William H. Kelly III
Jason Wells, 34 Education: Forest Hill High School; Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice, Kaplan University (online)
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
Political Experience: None
Job: Chief Investigator, Precious Martin Sr. & Associates, PLLC, eight or nine years; Jackson Police Department Security, 2012-Present Family: Unmarried; Daughter Alexandria Wells, 7 months; Son Jayvain Wells, 4; Son Jason Wells Jr., 8.
has worked with the City for six years. In his May 11 interview at the Jackson Free Press, Wells was unaware that he needed to submit campaign-finance reports and admitted that it is challenging to raise money from supporters in a predominantly Democratic city. He was oblivious to the status of the One Lake project, and to President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development that could be detrimental to Mississippians. Otherwise, Wells is persistent and confident that he is the change the people of Jackson need and want. He escaped the primary run-off against Republican candidate, Walter Stone, with a total of 174 votes and 53.54-percent of the minuscule vote. Wells says that, as mayor, he plans to improve Jackson by lowering the crime rate, providing more jobs, revamping the police department, and building more attractions downtown for tourists.
he Republican nominee for Jackson mayor, Jason Wells, 34, has returned to the polls once again in hope of successfully finding what he desires in life, a political office. Wells has participated in previous elections: once running for city council against Tony Yarber, a few times for constable and now against Democratic nominee Chokwe Antar Lumumba in the June 6 general election. Wells’ views are largely opposite of his Democratic opponent. As a part of his protocol to lower the crime rate in Jackson, he said that he plans to renovate old downtown buildings to build more prisons for serious-offense criminals and undocumented immigrants, who he says are taking jobs away from Jackson residents. Living in a country home in Clinton, Wells was raised by his father, Charles Wells, and mother, Alma Funchess. Wells told the JFP that his father was one of the first black constables for Hinds County and his mother was a deputy clerk for the Mississippi Supreme Court. Wells followed in his family’s career path of law enforcement. He worked for attorney Precious Martin Sr for eight or nine years as chief investigator, he said. He is currently a Jackson Police Department security officer and
Jason Wells says he is a “staunch Republican.” That’s means shrinking city costs, building more jails and bringing charter schools to Jackson, he says.
Tell me about yourself.
How can we do those things?
Why are you running for mayor?
I’m 34. I was born and raised in Clinton. I came to Jackson in ’99, 2000. Finished up at Forest Hill. I took up my criminal-justice degree, bachelor’s of science, online with Kaplan University. I worked for the late Precious Martin for about eight or nine years before he died.
Well, first we have to try to get a control on crime. By doing that we get a tougher and nonchalant police chief. We start putting more officers on the ground where they do a lot of more community policing. That way we can put more officers on horsebacks, we can put officers on bicycles, we can also put officers on foot patrol. Even in neighborhoods we can do the same thing.
I’ll say I’m running for mayor because I’m a staunch Republican. That mean I’m dedicated and loyal to the job. That mean I’m not doing it for a paycheck; I’m willing to give up $60,000 of my salary to put back to the infrastructure here in the city of Jackson. I have seen Jackson deteriorate since I’ve been here in 2000. That mean jobs have left, the streets done crumbled, and the water system is shocked, and that’s something we need to have better focus on. And by getting a focus on it, we can look at different cities that had the same problems, (and) that came out of them problems. I also want to revamp our city parks and open up some type of community center that’s no cost to the citizens. That way our youth could go in and learn different trades. They could do basketball and other events. They have some type of activity to do after school and during the summer.
What’d you do for Precious?
His chief investigator. I started working with the City of Jackson in 2012. I been working with them ever since. I do security with them. What kind of security?
JPD Security. We be at Union Station, we be at the Hood Building, we be at City Hall, (and) the police department across the street. What would you say are the city’s biggest challenges right now?
I’ll say the biggest challenge is lowering our crime rate, revamping the city zoo, revamping the police department, and bringing jobs into the city of Jackson.
When you say community policing, what exactly do you mean? It often means different things.
Community policing is basically the police officers making you feel comfortable. You knowing the police officer that control the beat. That way if anything happen you won’t be hesitating to tell that officer what went on. What about the officers who don’t want to be out walking around?
What other kind of activities?
Well, it’s not gone really be their choice because that’s the only way we’re going to get a control on crime.
You can do a dance team. I want them to shadow me for like two weeks. They can shadow the police chief. They can shadow
the fire chief. They can shadow city councilmen. You know you got a lot of people that want to get into politics, but they’re afraid to get into it because they don’t have nothing to look forward to as a future.
Are you trying to raise money?
With infrastructure, what would be your biggest priorities?
Do you believe you can win?
I think the people are ready for a change. That’s what I really believe. They really ready for a change, and they want somebody who gone be there for them and not just say they gone be there for them. They want dedication. What kind of change exactly?
People are tired of not being able to go outside their houses and not get mugged or not being killed. They’re tired of their houses being broken into. They’re tired of driving over the streets of Jackson (and) tearing up their cars because do you know
What needs to happen to improve public education in Jackson?
We need to look at hiring more experienced teachers. I went to Forest Hill (High School), not this year but when I was running for constable, and I spoke with some of the teachers up there. The science teacher told me (that) the math teacher wrote her lesson plan. You know, to me that’s very unacceptable because how would she write a lesson plan for a subject she don’t even teach. So this is something we need to look into. We need to get a better superintendent that’s able to do the job and that want to help the kids. How do you hire more experienced teachers, if you’re in favor of smaller government?
Correct. When it comes to education we highly favor (funding) education. Courtesy Jason Wells
In a previous interview, you mentioned that you used to be a Democrat. Why exactly did you switch to being a Republican?
You’ve run for different positions so far but have been unsuccessful. What keeps you motivated to run?
Do you have a campaign office?
No. I have a volunteer team so we basically haven’t set up a campaign office yet. And have you submitted your financial reports already?
No, not yet.
How much money have you raised and spent?
I’ve been actually doing it out of my paycheck. ... Maybe close to $1,000 on signs and push cards. You know you’re supposed to have filed a report already.
OK. Alright. I got it at home. The paperwork is at home.
I believe that we need to. I truly believe we need to. Are you aware of the federal budget cuts that Trump was proposing?
No, I heard something about it, but I’m not aware of it. Basically, he proposed large federal budget cuts. And one of those cuts is $6.2 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD administers the community development block grant, or CDBG, program. The cuts would affect poor, minority communities. What are your views on that?
To be honest, just my opinion, it’s something that we shouldn’t mess with. I mean, I wouldn’t mess with it. That it shouldn’t be cut?
Right. That’s just my opinion.
Trump is threatening to cut federal funds from cities like Jackson that won’t use local police to round up undocumented immigrants. What do you think of that?
They say this city is basically Democrats. They say you have to be a Democrat to win office, and that’s what I did. I always been a Republican because I believe in smaller government (and) less taxes. I believe in helping you when you need to be helped (and) not giving you a hand-out.
I ran for constable a couple of times, and then I ran for city councilman up against Tony Yarber. And what motivated me was to know what I wanted out of life. I’ve always wanted to hold a political office. Something I can help other people with. More in the lines of mayor, senator (and) congressman. More in lines of that way ’cause I always dreamed of running for president one day.
Would you try to shrink the size of city government from the size that it is now?
From left: Jackson mayoral nominee Jason Wells’ girlfriend Lena Crosby, Wells, mother Alma Funchess, and little sister Elisha Funchess.
the money that we pay for your car being tore up, that’s money we can put back into fixing the streets of Jackson. And then we only pay you maybe one-third of what it cost you so we really don’t give you as much as you think you gone get. Like if your car cost you $500 to fix, we might give you $90 or $100 on that. Other than small government, what are your other Republican views?
Other Republican views are more like that we have better education. I’m looking at trying to bring charter schools into the city of Jackson because I want it to be known that if your child is failing, I want them to be able to come get tutored on Saturday and Sunday at no cost to them. That means even if I don’t get charter schools here, you can bring them to City Hall and we (can) tutor them. We believe in giving the power back to the people, where the people deserve the power. That way y’all can make the decision, not the government telling you what to do and what not to do.
In 2016, you said that you liked Donald Trump. Have your views changed since he’s been elected?
You know what. I don’t want to speak on that one. (Laughs.) Why not?
Business minded, he good. Political minded, he’s not all that good. That’s why we got Mike Pence. But you like Mike Pence?
Yes, I love Mike Pence. Mike Pence is very political minded. He knows what it takes to get things done. With President Trump … it’s more of I like how he wants to run the United States as a business. Cause basically that’s what we need ... for the City to be run as a business. Would you contract out more or privatize more services than there are now?
Depends on what we’re looking at. As far as repairing the streets, yes.
Well, I think that the immigrants that we have in Jackson, they (are) taking away from jobs (from) the citizens of Jackson. If they’re illegal, I don’t think that they should be over (here) because they are committing crimes, and then they run back to Mexico and think they got away. We’re all committing crimes, you know—meaning people of all backgrounds commit crime.
Well yeah, we’re committing crimes, too, but I’m just saying. We all should be held responsible for the crime we commit because I want my city, if I win, I want my city to be like our surrounding cities like Madison, Pearl, Byram (and) Clinton where we bring in more jobs and have less crime because we’re tougher on crime. People right now think that they can commit a crime and run to Jackson, and that’s something I want to put a stop to. How would you put a stop to it?
I’m going to build a jail. We got a lot of buildings down here that we can revamp into a city jail to house our own criminals. We got the Coca-Cola plant on Highway 80, we can revamp into it. We have other buildings, too, that I haven’t looked at, but we got them. I know the Coca-Cola plant will be a nice one.
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
By the streets, we look at different asphalt, and we see how long it last us. We see how much it cost ’cause we might want to spend a little bit more money to last us 75 more years. When it comes to water and sewage, I’ve been looking at different cities that had the same problems and how they redid their pipes. I don’t want to pronounce it wrong but it’s … where you inline the pipes and keep it from exploding no matter how much pressure gets on that pipe, no matter how old it is. They say you got to do it each year. So, (if) we go in and do it each year, it’ll save us in the long run.
Yes. I’ve called different attorneys that I’ve worked for, but of course them saying they’re Democrats, they don’t want to contribute to a Republican.
more WELLS, see page 18 17
The JFP Interview with Jason Wells Your idea is to lock more people up to prevent crime?
The ones that’s committing the crime. Also, I look at offering a mayoral pardon. With that is, you might owe me traffic tickets, and I’m looking for somebody who just robbed a store. You know who they are. You come to me, and we go behind closed doors, you give me that person, and I give you a mayoral pardon. That mean I wipe your slate clean from the City of Jackson. What would be the limit of offenses that you would wipe clean?
Should people be held in jail if they can’t afford to pay their fines?
from page 17
They’ll have to be dedicated. If I give them like 60 days to come to work, they’ll have to be dedicated. Never call in, always show up on time. They’ll have to be the first one there and the last one to leave.
can set downtown up with spooky lights. Something like businesses give out candy for the kids. So, it’s all about different ideas you come up with to bring back the downtown area.
Were you encouraged to run by the Republican party?
People like that kill people, though.
What kind of ideas have you come up with to provide more jobs for the homeless or their other concerns?
Not yet. I actually got a meeting with them tomorrow. With the Republican Party.*
Yeah. They do. But I’ll have to take that chance. What do you feel needs to happen to improve economic development here in Jackson?
Like I say, we just have to bring more jobs here to the city. To bring it up economically. You know, even the downtown area. We really got to clean downtown up in order to bring it back.
First, I’ll have to look at our budget. If our budget allows it, I could even impetrate a certain department just to cater to them, to give them something to do. And trust me, it’ll be whatever it is downtown. Like say, for instance, you come and you open up a business downtown, and you need help revamping it. Then, a lot of them got skills, I’ll put them out there to help you Arielle Dreher
I think you ought to pay or stay. If you can’t pay your fines I think you ought to pay or stay. … I’m going to put you out here. I got a lot of paper that needs to be picked up. I got a lot of houses and businesses that need to be boarded up, and I got a lot of grass that needs to be cut.
May 17 - 23 , 2017 • jfp.ms
How would they really show you
18 that they’ve changed?
You plan on getting funding from the Republicans?
Tell me what you think about the One Lake project?
I haven’t looked into it. I haven’t even just studied it. What would you like to add?
I plan on moving downtown if I win.
Where are you going to live downtown?
Management style. Basically, I’m going to be a nonchalant type of management. I just recently opened up my own business, Jason Wells Investigation.
What about alternatives for youth instead of going straight to jail?
Well, it depends on what I locked them up for. Alright, depends on where I’m going to place them at. But I will look at getting them a job with the City. If they got anything like maybe rape or attempted murder, then I’ll have to look at the department I want to put you in and then you have to show me, really show me, that you changed. Because a lot of the people learn skills, you know, in jail, and then they still get out and do the same thing. No matter if you do try to help them or not.
Has Bryant helped get your campaign funded in any way?
Talk about your management style.
Depends on what kind of crime it is because the parent should be held accountable, too.
What would you do about the reentry problem? When people come out of jails, they’re at a higher risk of committing more crime.
The Plaza. Cause I believe that the mayor of Jackson should live in ... Downtown Jackson. Just like the governor do.
Would you lock up youth when they commit a crime or have an offence on their record?
If they want to do the different community programs that’s something that we can look into. If they want to learn a job trade. Like, say they want to get into contracting. Then I’ll look into that and bring that option for them to get out here and do, it’s a skill and I’d rather offer them a skill than throwing them away.
Do you have employees or have you ever managed people?
Jason Wells, the Republican candidate for mayor, said he has used mainly his own money to pay for campaign materials, like this small sign seen in Belhaven.
I talk to a lot of the homeless. A lot of them actually want to do things with their life. They just can’t find work right now. So, they ask me all the time, if I win office, would I give them something to do. Even if it’s like picking up paper, or letting them clean up Smith Park, or cut grass. I told them “Yes.” That right there bring more attraction to the city of Jackson. Even like, I want to bring an aquarium outside the City Hall. An aquarium?
Yes. That’ll bring back, that’ll bring a lot of attention to the city. A lot of tourists would come to this city of Jackson just to see that. A lot of jobs will come here just because of what goes on with downtown Jackson. Even with different festivities. I want to have like a Halloween day. We
revamp that, and the City will pay them. There will be no expenses to you.
OK. How long ago did you open your business?
Almost two years ago.
What kind of stuff do you investigate in your business?
We do cheating spouse. We do subpoenas. We do expungements.
Who are your top supporters?
I’ve been with Gov. Phil Bryant.*
You’re saying he supports you?
Yes. We’re on pictures together. ... He told me never give up on what I want to do in life. We got a really good relationship. We met at the Republican office when Donald Trump won. Ever since then, I’ve been calling him for like different ideas. When I’m meeting with different people, he tell me what to do and what not to do. ... I got a cell number for (Bryant). Matter of fact, when we had my election, my watch party, he was unable to come that night because he was out of the state.
Where is it located?
Right now, I do it out of my house. I got an office inside my house. *Note: The Mississippi Republican Party has not yet confirmed or denied a relationship between Wells and the GOP or Gov. Phil Bryant, or whether the party is providing him campaign funds. See factcheck links in this story posted at jacksonfreepress.com/election2017. Donna Ladd assisted with this interview. Email city reporting intern William Kelly III at email@example.com with comments and story tips about the city.
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Big Pharma stands to lose billions as doctors recommend drug-free “health cocktail” that adjusts and corrects your body’s health conditions.
Drug company execs are nervous. That’s because the greatest health advance in decades has hit the streets. And analysts expect it to put a huge crimp in “Big Pharma” profits. So what’s all the fuss about? It’s about a new ingredient that’s changing the lives of people who use it. Some call it “the greatest discovery since penicillin”! And others call it “a miracle!” The name of the product is the AloeCure. It’s not a drug. It’s something completely different. And the product is available to anyone who wants it, at a reasonable price. But demands may force future prices to rise.
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May 17 - 23, 2017 • jfp.ms
Drug Companies Fear Release of the New AloeCure
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Holy Smokers, Batman! by Tyler Edwards
From left: Bill Howard, Mike Flannes, Dawn Flannes and Joe Surkin are members of the Holy Smokers, which is a culinary group based out of St. Andrewâ€™s Cathedral in downtown Jackson.
ike Flannes, a member of the Holy Smokers, describes one of their many dishes: a marinated smoked pork tenderloin stuffed with boudin sausage, wrapped in bacon, with a raspberry chipotle sauce and gouda cheese grits. â€œAre you getting hungry yet?â€? he asks. The Holy Smokers, which is a group based out of St. Andrewâ€™s Cathedral in Jackson, traces its origins back to 1936 when a group of women got together to start the St. Andrewâ€™s Bizarre, where they sold food and crafts to raise funds for the church. â€œThis has always been a cooking community,â€? Flannes says. â€œThen in the 1980s the men (of the church) got involved in the Bizarre with an oyster bar, and some of us would do jambalaya and stuff like that, and did that for a number of years.â€? As time progressed, the group started the Parish Pig Roast in 1985, the Bishopâ€™s BBQ in 1993 and the monthly Deanâ€™s List event in 2010, where everybody brings $10 and whatever meat they want, and the Smokers cook the food. â€œWeâ€™re just a bunch of guys out grillinâ€™, shootinâ€™ the bull, doing it once a month and having a big time,â€? Flannes says. â€œThereâ€™s no agenda other than eat, drink, be merry and be home by 8:30.â€? In 2010 the group started participating in some competitions, and Flannes says they had to have a name, so they chose the Holy Smokers. The group has won a total of 14 awards and has competed in local competitions such as Taste of Mississippi, the Grace Center BBQ Cook-Off, the Red Beans and Rice festival, and events such as Fondrenâ€™s First Thursday. The Holy Smokers do a lot of fundraisers, and of those, they say the one clos-
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licia Stapleton, who also goes by Cookie, says she likes to use real embellishments for the wedding invitations she designs such as a small starfish for a destination wedding, or a piece of lace and a cameo pendant for a classically themed wedding. Stapleton, who is a Jackson native, says she originally entered college at the University of Louisiana at Monroe as a graphic-design major, but mass communications exposed her to more areas that she was interested in such as radio and TV. Though she changed her major to mass communications, she kept the minor in art because she says she has always been creative. “I remember in kindergarten I used to make little illustration books and sell them for like 25 cents. … Full color was 50 cents; black and white was 25 cents,” Stapleton jokes. Stapleton began graphic-design company Inkfolio three years ago. She says that it was her own 2014 wedding that piqued her interest in designing wedding stationery. That August, she married her high-school sweetheart, Silas Stapleton, and says that for their celebration, she handmade the invitations, the menu and the stationery. She says the positive response from people was also what made her become interested in wedding stationery. Stapleton spent the next couple of years after her wedding preparing to add the branch, making sure she had the right suppliers, building her clientele and perfecting the aesthetics for her products. She also wanted to spend time working herself up to the point where
she could handle them because weddings require a lot of work, she says. “It takes a lot more work, and you want to make sure things are perfect for a bride,” Stapleton says. Before the wedding stationery launched on Feb. 20, Stapleton says she had designed wedding invitations for friends and for some people who were referred to her, which had helped her prepare. Stapleton says that her favorite one to design had a “The Great Gatsby” theme. “I love that era,” she says. “That was pretty fun.” She says in her business, she likes to spend time with brides, and customize and build their invitations. “Just having that upscale experience of it just being about you,” she adds. In the future, Stapleton says that she plans to have an Inkfolio Periscope or YouTube channel so brides can get an inside look at how the invitations are made and so they can watch wedding tutorials. Though wedding invitations are fairly new to her business, she says that that’s her favorite part of Inkfolio. “Just launching all the wedding stationery and actually just creating all the samples that we have, I’ve found that to be the most exciting versus just doing the graphics because I’m able to just get in, hands on, and create, and that’s my true passion there,” she says. Stapleton also likes to draw and do ceramics in her spare time. For more information about Inkfolio, visit inkfolio.net. Read more JFP Hitched stories at jacksonfreepress.com/hitched.
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