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vol. 16 no.17

FREE DECEMBER 27, 2017 - JANUARY 2, 2018



Your YourMetro MetroEvents EventsCalendar Calendarisisatat


Council Bats Down Tax Increase Bragg, pp 6 - 7

Seeking Mental Health Solutions Dreher, pp 7 - 8

NYE Celebrations Cardon, Helsel, p 18

18 0 2 7 1 20 , Flynn - 17 4 1 p p

s ’ n e Wom tball e k s a B , p 17 w e Previ

2017 WoMen's basketball NOVEMBER


10 / Millsaps College / 12:15pm 14 / Mercer University / 7:00pm 18 / @St. Bonaventure University*** / 4:00pm 20 / @University of Maryland*** / 7:00pm 24 / Maryland Eastern Shore*** / 1:30pm 25 / Emerald Coach Classic*** / TBD 28 / @University Louisiana Monroe / 7:00pm

DECEMBER 1 / @Central Michigan University / 7:00pm 9 / @Louisiana Tech / 6:00 pm 11 / vs. Fisk University / 6:00pm 13 / @Southern Illinois University / 7:05pm 20 / @University of Toledo / 7:00pm 22 / @Ball State University /7:00pm

JANUARY 1 / vs. Alabama State / 7:30pm 3 / vs. Alabama A&M* / 7:30pm 6 / @Alcorn State* / 5:30pm 8 / @Southern* / 7:30pm 13 / vs. Texas Southern* / 5:30pm 15 / vs. Prairie View* / 7:30pm 20 / vs. Grambling* / 7:30pm 27 / @Mississippi Valley State* / 5:30pm 29/ @Arkansas Pine Bluff* / 7:30pm


December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

3 / vs Alcorn State* / 5:30pm 5 / vs Southern* / 7:30pm 10 / @Texas Southern* / 5:30pm 13 / @Prairie View* / 7:30pm 17 / @Grambling State* / 5:30pm 24 / vs. Mississippi Valley State* / 5:30pm 26 / vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff* / 7:30pm


MARCH 1 / @Alabama State* / 7:30pm 3 / @Alabama A&M* / 5:30pm 5-10 Tue.-Sat. SWAC TOURNAMENT Houston, TX TBD dates and times are subject to change *Denotes Conference Opponent *** Denotes games in the Global Sports Shoot-out Athletic Director: Wheeler Brown Head Coach: Wayne Brent



JACKSONIAN Ke’Asia Gray courtesy Belhaven University


uring a preseason workout earlier this year, Belhaven University senior guard Ke’Asia Gray landed awkwardly while going up for a layup. When the former Magee High School star landed, she twisted her ankle and delayed the start of her final year on the basketball court. The guard, who was named to the Preseason American Southwest Conference Watch List this year and was expected to be the leader on the court, is struggling with missing time due to injury. “I have been playing basketball since I was little, and this is my final year,” she says. “I want to be playing so badly.” The 5-foot, 3-inch guard has missed nearly six weeks this season. “I miss my teammates but missing games (during) my final season might hurt worse,” she says. Last season, Gray saw action in all 25 of the Blazers’ games with one start. She averaged 6.7 points per game while playing 17 minutes per contest. She shot 78 percent from the foul line while grabbing 39 rebounds and handing out 21 assists. Her play helped Belhaven finish with a 14-11 overall record and a 9-9 mark in conference play. Gray says that basketball came naturally to her.


“It was the only thing that kept my mind occupied,” she says. At Magee High School, Gray was named Freshman of the Year, twice to the All-Region team, All-District as a senior and a Mississippi Scholar. She lettered three times while playing for the Trojans. Before joining the Blazers, the guard saw action at Southwest Mississippi Community College, where she averaged 3.2 points per game, collected 45 rebounds, dished out 37 assists, made 21 steals and one block while appearing in 37 games with 22 starts. Her decision to attend Belhaven out of junior college was an easy one for the guard. “I loved the small environment and small classes,” Gray says. “That way, I am able to have a better relationship with my teachers.” Gray was named to the ASC AllAcademic Team in her first season at Belhaven University. When Gray isn’t playing basketball, the Mississippi native enjoys binge watching TV shows such as “Martin.” She will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. For her career, she wants to go into marketing. —Bryan Flynn

cover photo of Victoria Vivians courtesy MSU Athletics

6 ............................ Talks 12 ................... editorial 13 ...................... opinion 14 .............. Basketball 18 ........... food & Drink 20 ......................... 8 Days

10 One Lake Plan Moves Ahead

Early in the new year, the Pearl River flood-control plan could be revealed to the public for comment.

18 Here’s to 2018!

Use this guide for your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

22 ........................ Events 24 .......................... music 24 ........ music listings 26 ...................... Puzzles 28 ......................... astro 28 ............... Classifieds

24 Finding the New Effect

“You kind of want to do something that is your own, just to feel like you’re making something fresh.” —Ben Sparaco, “Finding the New Effect”

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

4 ............ Editor’s Note

courtesy Ben Sparaco; flickr/ Marco Verch; File Photo

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 | Vol. 16 No. 17


editor’s note

by Amber Helsel, Managing Editor

Moving On from the Dumpster Fire of 2017


etween social media, podcasts, the radio and more, it’s really hard to miss the news right now. Really, really hard. Even when you try to unplug, it seems like more weird and crazy stories keep getting thrown in our faces: tax reform that’s not actually going to help that many people and could even screw a lot of people over. Donald Trump insisting on building a wall to keep immigrants out. Men getting ousted for sexual harassment, and then complaining because they have to watch what they say around women now. The Federal Communications Commission deciding that net neutrality needs to die. And so much more. It’s a lot to handle all at once. But even if 2017 has been a dumpster fire for the country and for much of the world, people have reminded me multiple times this year that for a lot of people, including me, it’s actually been a good year. I bought a house this summer and recently adopted a cat to put in it. The house has three bedrooms, so along with a guest room and my bedroom, I also have a room just for creating. I’ve begun to step out as an artist, which has led to me hanging two galleries and participating in a couple of events this fall. When I look back at this time last year, I can see that I’m in a better place mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and for the first time in a long time, I actually feel like I have a community of people behind me. A few of my friends are finding their niches as entrepreneurs. A few have bought houses and have begun remodeling, and adopted cats and dogs, and had babies, and got engaged and married.

Some of my favorite bands have released new albums and songs. It has also seemed to be a good year for local business. Waitr is now here, so we finally have the delivery service we’ve been searching for. Many businesses have opened up, including Cantina Laredo and Fine & Dandy at The District at Eastover. Breweries in Mississippi can now sell beer on site, which opens the way for breweries such as Lucky Town Brewing

people may live, always waiting for that moment when everything will come together, or when life will let them catch a breath. Here’s the funny thing I’ve learned in my journey through adulthood so far: Those moments may never happen. The one thing that never changes is, in fact, change itself. For example, the weather forecast earlier this month didn’t predict that we would get five inches of snow,

The one thing that never changes is, in fact, change itself. Company to, say, place as a finalist in Best Place to Buy Beer in Best of Jackson. And one of the coolest things that happened this year was the opening of the highly anticipated Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Dec. 9. And if those things aren’t enough, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is officially in theaters. (I haven’t seen it yet, so don’t spoil it for me). So even if most of the world sucked in 2017, and we may be dealing with the repercussions in 2018, it has actually been a decent year for a lot of people. Like most humans, I tend to get stuck on the things I’m not satisfied with or that make me angry, and sometimes I can’t really see much else. It’s not a good way to live life, but it’s the way a lot of

but the weather changed just enough that we had a snow day in December for the first time in years. The leaves on trees change every year, and we can’t stop it. Flower bloom and then die. Change is one of the only constants in our lives. And though we may get a brief breather from the crazy, it won’t be long before more is on its way. At this point, I’ve had to catch myself when I begin thinking that life is too boring. Because it could always be way more dramatic, and drama is not my style. My goal over the last couple of years has been to let go of things I can’t control, and to stop waiting for things to happen or come together. I either make them happen myself (hence the reason I’ve been able to hang my art in galleries and participate in events) or stop focusing on

something if it’s out of my control, though that’s much easier said than done. But doing both of those things has helped. At the end of last year, I remember having a lot of anxiety about the future, but I’m a little less unsure now. I’m an adult with a house, though, so in a lot of ways, I still have a lot of anxiety. The gas heating system in my house still scares the sh*t out of me. I also recently had some unexpected vet bills and financial stresses come up (don’t worry, my cat is fine; she’s just allergic to the world), so some worries are still present. But as someone who has struggled with the concept of taking things one step a time for years for years and is finally trying to actively practice it, it really is one of the best things you can do for yourself, even if all you’re doing is trying to keep your head above water. It’s helped me learn how to actually be happy and way more content with my life and everything in it. We all know that nothing is perfect. You can’t magically snap your fingers and lose weight or have more money. We can wish for Donald Trump to be impeached all we want to, but it won’t happen overnight. And even if it does, Mike Pence isn’t a much better alternative. All we can do is keep going, keep moving forward, focus on the good things in our lives and our own circles of control, and if we’re not happy with something, at least attempt to change it. Sure, 2018 could also be a dumpster fire, but that doesn’t mean we have to let it burn us. Managing Editor Amber Helsel is a Gemini, feminist, writer, artist and otaku. She loves travelling, petting cats, hoarding craft supplies and more. Email story ideas to

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •



Bryan Flynn

Arielle Dreher

Ko Bragg

Dustin Cardon

Micah Smith

Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wright

Meghan Garner

Freelance sportswriter Bryan Flynn is nearly a lifelong Mississippian, who has freelanced for the JFP since 2010. He lives in Jackson with his wonderful wife, lovely daughter and several pets. He wrote the cover package.

News Reporter Arielle Dreher is working on finding some new hobbies and adopting an otter from the Jackson Zoo. Email her story ideas at She wrote about One Lake and fixing mental-health care.

City Reporter Ko Bragg is a Philadelphia, Miss., transplant who recently completed her master’s in journalism. She loves traveling and has been to 25 countries to date. She wrote about the tourist tax and the wastewater lawsuit.

Web Editor Dustin Cardon is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. He enjoys reading fantasy novels and wants to write them himself one day. He wrote about New Year’s Eve events.

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 He wrote about Ben Sparaco.

Staff Photographer Stephen Wilson is always on the scene, bringing you views from the six. He took photos for the issue.

Sales and Marketing Consultant Stephen Wright is a Clinton native who lives life through the four F’s: faith, family, football and food. For your advertising needs, email him at stephen@jacksonfree

Digital Marketing Strategist Meghan Garner avoids crowds and is most often spotted hiding behind a dry martini. She works to help local businesses thrive through JFP’s website building, content marketing, SEO and digital creative services.

Help for headache and migraine is available. Call the headache center for more information, and visit to download a free headache journal to help track your symptoms.

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December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

You do not have to live in pain!





— Joy Hogge on public access to the now-private mental-health task force meetings.

What’s up with the JacksonRankin water treatment spat? p8

Wednesday, December 20 Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance announces that he will retire at the end of the year after 30 years of service in the Jackson Police Department. … The city of Charlottesville, Va., dedicates a street in honor of Heather Heyer, who died when a white nationalist named James Alex Fields rammed his car into a crowd. She was protesting a white nationalist and Nazi rally in the city. … The Associated Press names the women who initially spoke out against sexual misconduct in Hollywood as the Associated Press Entertainers of the Year.

Council: Continue, Don’t Double Tourist Tax

Thursday, December 21 The Jackson City Council votes against Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s request to double the local tourist tax from 1 percent to 2 percent on purchases at restaurants, hotels and motels. … The U.N. General Assembly votes 128-9 to denounce Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him. … Scott Lloyd, head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, releases a memo stating that abortion and rape are both forms of “violence,” and that he will not allow abortions even for teenagers who have been sexually assaulted because his office “has no obligation under the law or the U.S. Constitution to allow abortions for anyone in a government shelter.”

The Jackson City Council unanimously voted to reauthorize the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau on Dec. 21.

Friday, December 22 Jackson Public Schools teachers and students go in for a “60 percent” school day in order to have enough hours of instruction this semester to meet state accreditation requirements, after the district canceled school for the snow day on Dec. 8. … Donald Trump signs the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax-overhaul package into law as well as a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown. Saturday, December 23 The City of Jackson Department of Parks and Recreation hosts “Winter Wonderland,” an indoor ice-skating rank, through Dec. 26. Get breaking news at

by Ko Bragg

Stephen Wilson

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •


“Why don’t we want everybody to have as much information as possible? We don’t know where the solutions could come from.”


t a special Jackson City Council meeting called just before the long Christmas weekend, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba asked members to reauthorize the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau and double the tourist and convention tax that supports the bureau from 1 percent to 2 percent. JCVB’s underlying hope was to get the tourist tax reauthorized at the Mississippi Legislature 2018 regular session to continue funding its operations—doubling the tax would have been a cake topper, bringing its likely revenue to about $7 million. In the Thursday, Dec. 21, meeting, most of the council supported the notion of bringing in more revenue, but the doubled tax request brought strong opposition from two members. Ultimately, the council and the mayor decided they should opt for showing a unanimous vote to the Legislature when members grew concerned

because the JCVB was not prepared to say how it planned to spend the additional $3.5 million. ‘No Concrete Plans’ The JCVB now operates on a budget of about $3.5 million, all funded from the 1-percent tax. At the special council meeting, Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote asked JCVB CEO and President Wanda Wilson what her organization currently does with the $3.5 million and her plans for getting twice that amount due to the tourist-tax increase. “Well, actually, there is no concrete plan right now,” Wilson answered, adding that she wanted get the mayor’s support for conducting a master tourism plan. Wilson listed general ideas including new business conventions, continued assistance for the Two Museums marketing materials and a potential NASCAR track opportunity.

Over the last three years, the JCVB has given Two Museums—the new Mississippi history and civil-rights museum duo— $200,000 to support its marketing efforts. As of the last two fiscal years, the JCVB has spent $1.4 million per year on personnel; it has six employees. The bulk of the budget, more than $2 million in the last two fiscal years, goes toward advertising, marketing, public relations and other promotional expenses. Also in the last two fiscal years, the JCVB has overspent its budget—in 20152016 it came in $31,558 over, and in 20162017 it was $456,643 dollars over budget. Eventually, Wilson brought up “the elephant in the room,” as she called it—the Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival, the struggling and expensive JCVB-produced music event that she said her group would discontinue. The festival started in 2013 and was held outside in August in the Mississippi Ag Museum parking lot,

• The Farish Street History Buffs


or the annual College Basketball Preview, we go through countless stat sheets, rosters and game schedules for basketball squads all around Mississippi. With how diverse the state is, it’s no wonder that we have plenty of different universities and colleges where young athletes can plug in. Of course, there are also plenty of unique areas just in Jackson. We thought we’d come up with a few fun basketball team names to represent some of our favorite spots in the city.

• The Fondren Dogwalkers • The South Jackson Stuff-Named-AfterTrees • The Downtown Traffic Cones • The Midtown Makers • The West Jackson Zookeepers

• The Eastover Building Schematics • The North Jackson Are-We-in-Ridgelands

“Working with President Trump, Congress has successfully overhauled the tax code to make it simpler, fairer, and smarter.”

“I don’t think this should be the focus of our legislative agenda. We have bigger fish to fry.”

—U.S.Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., in a statement about his vote in favor of the Republican tax-reform bill that Trump signed into law.

—Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr. on why he believes red-light legislation should not be the Jackson City Council’s focus for legislative changes in 2018.

Inside the Closed Mental Health Meetings by Arielle Dreher

but moved inside the Jackson Convention Center for the last two years. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes said that the City needs a festival and that he did not consider the JCVB to be “losers,” but rather “pioneers.” “Ms. Wilson, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Stokes said. “And although Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival may not have the attendance that it should, I think it was a step in the right direction.” No Plan, No Increase Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay was one of the outspoken members whose frustration with the proposal came from a clear lack of foresight for how the JCVB would use the additional funds. Lumumba told council he does agree

Attorney General Jim Hood’s mental-health task force is bringing together providers with law enforcement officers and other stakeholders to work on solutions for the state’s system of care.

Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training approves its suggestion next year. “It’s all about getting to the scene, recognizing it’s a mental-health issue, (and) de-escalating the situation,” he told the Jackson Free Press. CIT program training is much more in-depth, and not necessarily every law enforcement officer would go through it. The idea is that each officer with the mental first-aid training could de-escalate the situation immediately and then call a CIT-trained responder if he or she needs support.

that “we would have benefitted from a more extensive plan,” but that he and his administration have a “cache of ideas that would be helpful for the City of Jackson.” The mayor also mentioned that NASCAR has interest in building a racetrack here and that JCVB is willing to assist in doing a study to move that forward. “But I think we today are being irresponsible if we vote to increase this without having a plan,” Lindsay said. “This cannot just be about ideas ....” Lindsay also mentioned that the council needed to know “long before this morning” how money from a tax increase was going to be spent before approving a tax increase. The conversation in council chambers moved to comparing tax rates in surrounding communities that can charge nearly 5

De Back said the first-aid training is not just for law enforcement officers. His subcommittee is discussing a plan to create a resource, like a website along with other media campaigns, to disseminate information about what mentalhealth resources are available statewide. Overall, he said, his committee wants to work to address the stigma of mental health in Mississippi by “addressing the stigma that it’s OK to go out and get help because that’s been a problem in our society for a long time.” Evidence-based Practices Wes Johnson, a criminal-justice professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, is on the task force, and he said the work of the group is important due to the interface of the criminal justice and mental-health system in the state. “It’s quite a historic moment not only in Mississippi but across the United States,” he said. “We’re identifying the evidence-based practices that are fiscally and morally and ethically the correct thing to do.” Courts throughout the state have few options for Mississippians in the criminal-justice system with mentalhealth needs. The Mississippi State Hospital has 35 beds for all criminally charged people, including those seeking to be declared “insane” by state law standards in their trials. The low number of beds often means many people with mental illnesses are waiting in jail for services, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green told the Jackson Free Press in August.

percent on restaurant taxes. “It’s not fair that these little bedroom communities around Jackson can get 2 to 3 (percent) or more and the largest city can’t get but one,” Stokes said, adding that he would rather stay with the 1-percent tax request than lose the bureau. Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester, Jr. pointed out that Jackson already charges 2 percent on restaurants and that increasing this JCVB tax would take it to 3 percent. “The issue is, what do we want to charge our businesses?” he asked Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks complimented the JCVB’s work and encouraged the council to take a risk. “I want to make sure we’re on one page and that we don’t allow fear to keep us from moving in the direction and waging what I would call

more MENTAL HEALTH, see page 8

a good fight,” Banks said. The council then voted unanimously to keep the 1-percent tax and ask the Mississippi Legislature to reinstate the bureau in the new session and allow the existing tax continue. Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman was not present for the vote. In April 2015, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that allowed a 1-percent tax on restaurants, hotels and motels to provide funds to the JCVB to carry out “programs and activities” that are “designed to attract conventions and tourists,” the bill reads. The legislative session begins the first week of the year, and the body will need to approve continuing the 1-percent tax past July. Email city reporter Ko Bragg at ko@

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Addressing the Stigma Major Chris De Back, who is in the investigations division at the Biloxi Police Department, is on the Education and Training Subcommittee. He said he has learned a lot about mental-health resources that he did not know existed from just being on the task force. De Back said his committee is looking at first-responder programs, including two types of training: mental-health first aid and the Crisis Intervention Team program (called CIT) to expand statewide. The first-aid training is an eighthour program, which De Back said all law-enforcement officers in basic training might have to take if the Board on

Stephen Wilson File Photo


hile Attorney General Jim Hood has not yet opened mental-health task force meetings to public and media scrutiny, members of the group are talking about how they are trying to tackle the state’s system of care from practically every angle, including within the criminal-justice system. Currently, 69 stakeholders from law enforcement, to mental-health care providers, to Mississippians who use the services meet monthly for the attorney general’s task force. The task-force meetings last at least three hours if not longer. The group is split into six subcommittees: legislation, involuntary commitments, family support, collaboration, opioid abuse, and education and training. Members spend time in subcommittees, discussing certain issues from the attorney general or sometimes broader concepts, for the majority of each meeting. After subcommittees meet, they present the short version of their work with the whole group at the end of the meeting.


TALK | city

City Votes to End Water Treatment Lawsuit by Ko Bragg


Stephen Wilson

he City of Jackson has been going through a long, also points to the socioeconomic impacts its citizens would public and drawn-out break-up with the West face if WRUA pulls out of the regional agreement. In earlier Rankin Utility Authority since WRUA received a court documents, the City argued that parts of Madison permit to create its own wastewater treatment, pull- County that send its water to Savanna Street could also feel ing out of an agreement to use the Jackson’s Savanna Street a negative economic impact. Wastewater Treatment Plant. In response, WRUA points to the consent decree the In 2015, the City filed an appeal that has since gone all City of Jackson entered with the Environmental Protection the way to the Mississippi Supreme Court to try to get that permit blocked. But, under the advisement of the new public works director, Bob Miller, the Jackson City Council voted Dec. 19 to voluntarily dismiss the appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court in an effort to show good faith and get its Rankin client back before its suburban counterpart constructs a new facility and turns its back on Jackson for good. To borrow from imagery in the 1980s romantic comedy “Say Anything,” the City is essentially standing outside the WRUA’s window with a boombox, hoping everyone can make amends that would ideally involve WRUA dropping its 2015 lawsuit against the City and continuing to use the Savanna Public Works Director Bob Miller wants to end the wastewater Street plant. lawsuit against West Rankin Utility Authority in hopes of retaining it as a customer in the long run.

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Two Lawsuits, and a Decree The Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board issued a permit to WRUA on April 14, 2015, allowing it to discharge treated wastewater into the Pearl River, disconnect from Savanna Street and build its own treatment facility. After the City called a hearing for reconsideration in September 2015, the permit board affirmed that WRUA could continue with its permit. At WRUA’s request, the case ultimately transferred to Rankin County where the permit was upheld on January 19, 2017. The City’s Mississippi Supreme Court appeal, dated Aug. 9, 2017, alleges that WRUA’s new permit allowing it to dump into the Pearl River itself would cause degradation of the water and that its new treatment plant to make that possible would be less than 1 percent different than the costs to continue using the Savanna Street facility. The City


MENTAL HEALTH from page 7 Joy Hogge, executive director of Families as Allies, is on the Family Support and Increased Access to Community Services Subcommittee and said she is encouraged by the discussions at the meetings. “In my group, there’s certainly been that talk about what kind of system do we need to have that’s really responsive to people with mental illness,” she said. The next task-force meeting is not un-

Agency in November 2012 for the Savanna Street plant and others to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act. WRUA began the process to obtain a permit as early as 2011 and said in its response to the Supreme Court appeal that it “clearly demonstrated why it should not be required to stay connected to the failing Savanna Street plant where the cost for compliance with a federal consent decree remains unknown.” Notably, WRUA filed a separate lawsuit in May 2015 for breach of contract by the City of Jackson, claiming that it over-charged West Rankin for sludge removal. WRUA also seeks a judgment that its allocation should “only be a minor portion of the costs” because the sludge problems “predate the authority more than 20 years.” WRUA declares in the court documents that it is “neither responsible

til Jan. 25, but some of the task-force recommendations could become suggestions for legislation in the 2018 session. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi in 2016 for its over-reliance on institutions in its adult mental health-care system. Since then, Hood asked the Legislature to divert more funds to the Department of Mental Health and created the task force. DMH told lawmakers earlier this fall that it would not be requesting more funds than last year and plans to shift $10 million in their budget to evidence-based

for nor obligated to pay for costs associated with remedying the City’s years of sludge mismanagement...” WRUA also disputes “costs the City has charged and is attempting to charge” to remove the sludge the consent decree requires. WRUA says it pays for routine wastewater treatment associated with sludge, but rejects costs to correct the city’s mismanagement. West Rankin says it performed its own independent audit and claimed it would have paid a smaller baseline payment “if the City had followed reasonable and prudent management practices.” What’s Next? At the Dec. 19 Jackson City Council meeting, Public Works Director Bob Miller recommended “unequivocally” they drop the Supreme Court lawsuit to provide “good faith action that provides basis for new discussions with the West Rankin Utility Authority to retain them as a customer,” he wrote in a briefing memo to the council. “Continuing to oppose the WRUA’s (permit) will continue to antagonize them...,” Miller wrote. In an interview after the meeting, Miller said that since coming to Jackson, he assessed that it would be in everyone’s best interest for the City to improve a deteriorating relationship as a service provider rather than litigate. “They are on a track to leave, and what I want to do is, as a business service provider, to make sure that we provide them with a good choice,” Miller said. “I want to provide them with a different relationship and more reliable service and more predictable pricing.” Both Miller and the WRUA’s lawyer, Keith Turner, confirm that neither entity has had formal discussions with one another of late. Turner said it would be up to the board to decide if it will continue with the new plant and that it will likely discuss it at the next WRUA board meeting on Jan. 8. The City still must an official dismissal. Turner says he is not sure if having a new public works director in place with the intention to remedy the situation outside court will change the board’s mind, but said that he likes Miller’s track record so far. “As a citizen of Jackson,” Turner said. “I’m glad to see Mr. Miller’s actions in a lot of different areas. I think he’s doing a great job.” Email city reporter Ko Bragg at

services in the community to reduce the reliance on hospitalization. The task force is currently closed to the press. Hood’s staff polled members in November on whether they would like the meetings to be open to the press or not. Hood’s office claims the task force and meetings are not subject to the Open Meetings Act, although media, including this newspaper, disagree. Two weeks after the Jackson Free Press reported that the meetings had been closed to the press in November, The Clarion-Ledger filed an ethics complaint on Dec. 7.

Task-force members have now received another email with a less leading poll asking about the media being opened to media. Hogge said she favors opening the meetings to the press and the public. “Why don’t we want everybody to have as much information as possible because we don’t know where the solutions to come from?” she said, noting that other Mississippians who use the mental healthcare system could come and offer comments and ideas for the task force that stakeholders have not thought about previously. Read more at

2017 Men's basketball NOVEMBER 10 / Millsaps College / 12:15pm 14 / Mercer University / 7:00pm 18 / @St. Bonaventure University*** / 4:00pm 20 / @University of Maryland*** / 7:00pm 24 / Maryland Eastern Shore*** / 1:30pm 25 / Emerald Coast Classic*** / TBD 28 / @University Louisiana Monroe / 7:00pm


DECEMBER 1 / @Central Michigan University / 7:00pm 9 / @Louisiana Tech / 6:00 pm 11 / vs. Fisk University / 6:00pm 13 / @Southern Illinois University / 7:05pm 20 / @University of Toledo / 7:00pm 22 / @Ball State University /7:00pm

JANUARY 1 / vs. Alabama State / 7:30pm 3 / vs. Alabama A&M* / 7:30pm 6 / @Alcorn State* / 5:30pm 8 / @Southern* / 7:30pm 13 / vs. Texas Southern* / 5:30pm 15 / vs. Prairie View* / 7:30pm 20 / vs. Grambling* / 7:30pm 27 / @Mississippi Valley State* / 5:30pm 29/ @Arkansas Pine Bluff* / 7:30pm

FEBRUARY 3 / vs Alcorn State* / 5:30pm 5 / vs Southern* / 7:30pm 10 / @Texas Southern* / 5:30pm 13 / @Prairie View* / 7:30pm


MARCH 1 / @Alabama State* / 7:30pm 3 / @Alabama A&M* / 5:30pm 5-10 Tue.-Sat. SWAC TOURNAMENT Houston, TX TBD

dates and times are subject to change Home Games | Away Games *Denotes Conference Opponent *** Denotes games in the Global Sports Shoot-out Italicized games will be played in Destin, FL Athletic Director: Wheeler Brown Head Coach: Wayne Brent FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE JSU ATHLETICS TICKET OFFICE AT 601-979-2420.


December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

17 / @Grambling State* / 5:30pm 24 / vs. Mississippi Valley State* / 5:30pm 26 / vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff* / 7:30pm


TALK | city

One Lake Project One Step Closer to Public Input by Arielle Dreher


he 2007 map of the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District includes just a sliver of Jackson, predominantly along the Pearl as well as a piece of downtown, including the Mississippi Coliseum. The western border of the district goes south along State Street past Interstate 20, including all of Jackson east of State Street, which slopes down the hill to the river bank. It includes much more of Rankin County, including large parts of south Flowood, downtown Pearl and part of Richland. The map indicates the jurisdictional boundaries

control plan, at least some new funds could come from taxes the board levies after the Legislature passed House Bill 1585 in 2017. The bill says the board “may levy a special improvement assessment that applies only to property in the district that is directly or indirectly benefited by the project to provide funds for the operation, maintenance and preservation of the project.” Dallas Quinn, with the Pearl River Vision Foundation, said the goal of the soonto-be-released report was at least 80-percent reduction in flood damages if a 100-year flood event were to occur in the project area

Lake proposal. Two Lakes was a long-time pet project of oilman John McGowan, whose family members and partners owned a lot of potentially lucrative waterfront property within its footprint. He also started the Pearl River Vision Foundation. At the board’s Dec. 11 meeting, members including several local-area mayors approved a third service agreement that would complete the agency technical review on the project and get the document to Washington, D.C., for approval, levee board attorney Keith Turner said. “The Corps is basically going to assist Imani Khayyam / File Photo

The “One Lake” project may finally get a real public viewing soon.

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

of the district, the technical area that should benefit from One Lake’s flood-control plan. Project supporters say their plan will benefit areas beyond the 2007 district lines, however, promising details in the report once it is released to the public. The Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District is almost entirely funded from a tax millage from Rankin and Hinds counties, a 2010 PEER report shows. Property owners located within the boundaries of the district pay the same millage rate, but Rankin County has much more taxable property in the district than Hinds County. “Rankin County property owners collectively generate seven times more millage revenue than Hinds County property owners,” the 2010 report says. Currently, the Rankin-Hinds district maintains levees along the Pearl River within district boundaries. From 2001 to 2010, the district earned $6.4 million from millage and interest, spending almost all of that , the PEER report shows. The Mississippi Development Authority gave the district a $200,000 grant as well. As the district 10 works to finalize its new “One Lake” flood-

in Rankin or Hinds Counties. The report could go public as early as January 2018. Nearing the End of Review Public hearings on the “One Lake” flood-control and development project could happen in early 2018 if the levee board gets its way. The levee board is sponsoring the One Lake project, along with the Pearl River Vision Foundation. The Vicksburg District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the levee board, but the project falls under “Section 211” of the Water Resources Development Act. That means the process for project approval is much more flexible than traditional Corps projects and, ultimately, the federal government can reimburse project planners up to a certain amount. The Corps authorized the levee board to execute the Pearl River plan as a Section 211 project in 2008. The authorization letter shows the project will cost a total of $205.8 million with an estimated federal cost of $133.7 million and $72.03 million in non-federal costs. The district’s initial Two Lakes proposal fell through, and now the levee board is pursuing the current One

us. We’re carrying most of the water in the situation, no puns intended,” Turner told the board. “It’s (Department of) Fish and Wildlife interaction—it’s coordination with them. It’s providing updates to our congressional delegation and NEPA participation as well as public process as well.” NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, allows citizens to participate in proposed environmental projects by submitting public comment and participating in the approval process for projects. The One Lake project is subject to NEPA, too. The first support agreement between the board and the Vicksburg Corps district, signed in 2013, is worth $58,000. The service agreements provide payment to the Vicksburg District Army Corps of Engineers to review the project’s progress and provide feedback. On Dec. 11, the board also approved a contract with Battelle, a science and technology research organization, to conduct the final, independent review of the One Lake plan. “That’s our third and final review, and that will be the last step in this vetting process,” Turner told the board. “They are promising a 60-day turnaround.”

Public Comment Coming Initially, project planners wanted to simultaneously conduct public comments during the independent review process. Turner told the board that the Corps gave them a revised schedule last month, however, advising the levee board to wait to do public comment until after the independent review was finished. “I believe that process will compromise our ability to comply with NEPA,” Turner said at the Dec. 11 meeting. “The process for NEPA is supposed to allow the public an opportunity to comment—material opportunity to comment—but to do that we need to let them do that right now… We need to start public comment and get prepared and do it next month or as quickly thereafter as we can. If we wait until the Corps headquarters approves the project, it’s essentially approved at that point. And in my mind, this perception takes away the public’s opportunity to really weigh in on this project.” Turner and Quinn drove to Vicksburg the following week to discuss their concerns with the local Corps. Greg Raimondo, chief of the public affairs office at the Vicksburg Corps District, told the Jackson Free Press that the Vicksburg district is “checking up the vertical chain” to see if the D.C. Corps is amenable to the board’s wish to release the report during the final independent review and start the public comment process in early 2018. Technically, the One Lake project is under Section 211, so the board can do whatever it wants, but not following the Corps’ guidance means the process could take longer, Quinn told the board. Raimondo said public comment will happen either way; the Vicksburg District and the levee board are trying to clarify with the Corps in D.C. when it will happen. Quinn said he wants people to have the report before the public meetings, so planners can discuss it in-depth when they happen. The levee board will hold at least one meeting in Jackson and one along the southern part of the Pearl River as well. In past years, groups downstream along the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts and the Pearl River have adamantly opposed the project over the lake’s potential impact on local wildlife and water quality and quantity south of Jackson. Read more about the One Lake project at Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at

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‘Star Wars’ and Blerds


n 2017, being labeled a black nerd, or a blerd, is seemingly a badge of honor. But a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, being labeled a blerd did not reside anywhere in the realm of “cool” or “popular.” Let’s be honest, black folks didn’t exactly hold blerds in high regard because being interested in science fiction or comic books was considered lame in the “thug culture” that dominated the ’90s, and white folks didn’t hold us in high regard because we were, well, black. In order to be recognized as a blerd, not only does one have to have a year-round tan, but you have to truly appreciate “Star Wars.” No, not every blerd is consumed with “Star Wars” or its expanded universe (both canon and non-canon material). And granted, some blerds may have never even seen a single “Star Wars” movie. However, not being fully invested in it doesn’t mean blerds everywhere can’t fully appreciate the momentous impact that the franchise has had on our culture. With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” now in theaters, I reminisce about the first time I saw and subsequently fell in love with it. It was during one of George Lucas’ many, many cash grabs, when he re-released the original trilogy (Episodes IV-VI) with “digital restorations” in 1997. Back then, I was a 12-year-old boy in Mississippi full of innocence and wonder. I remember a childhood friend of mine convincing me to go see “Star Wars” at the theaters. It sounded like a boring venture, and one that would be a waste of my precious 12-year-old time. But I decided to be a good sport and tag along. From the moment Luke Skywalker was introduced, I was hooked, fully entrenched in the Skywalker saga that left long-lasting repercussions in the “Star Wars” universe. From then on, that 12-year-old boy (now a full-grown-ass 32-yearold man) was fully invested in not only the “Star Wars” universe, but our real universe, and I began a quest to become science literate. Not because I wanted to study and work in the STEM field (I became a typical attorney living in Washington, D.C.), but because I wanted to see if it was possible for carbon-based life to create the sciencefiction creatures I saw roaming around the different planets featured in “Star Wars.” I wanted to see if hyperspace was “a thing,” and if traveling faster than the speed of light is theoretically possible (it’s not). Essentially, “Star Wars” sparked my curiosity to learn more about any and everything. It ignited an intense thirst for knowledge that went well beyond the parameters of that movie theater, and even well beyond the parameters of Earth’s atmosphere. My older brother, who is also a huge “Star Wars” fan, used to tell me that witnessing characters like Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) was a big deal in the 1980s. It was an absolute rarity to see an African American on a large-budget, blockbuster movie back then. Yes, in 2017, it is more commonplace (though not common enough), but “Star Wars” understood, back then, that representation matters. It matters because it helps other young black nerds growing up in Mississippi or Alaska to fully appreciate his or her blackness as well as their geekiness and not to hide in the shadows of their own community. So to witness Lando Calrissian help the Rebel Alliance defeat the First Galactic Empire or to watch Finn (John Boyega) switch sides and join the Resistance may not seem like much to most, but to a person like myself, who has the words “Black Nerd” tattooed on his inner right arm, it means the world. No, scratch that, it means the universe. Leslie McLemore II, a Jackson native, is now in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Jackson State University, North Carolina Central University School 12 of Law and American University Washington College of Law. December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

It ignited an intense thirst for knowledge.

Time for Evidence-based Crime Prevention at JPD


s this year comes to a close, so will Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance’s 30-year career in the Jackson Police Department, who announced his retirement on Dec. 20. “There’s an argument that can be made that he’s the best police chief the city has seen to date,” Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said that day. While the City has no announcement to date about who the next chief will be, the mayor said they won’t “substitute making sure we get it right for expediency.” We applaud Vance, who is also a really nice man, for his decades of service. We also urge the mayor to seize this opportunity to take JPD’s approach to the next level with innovative leadership that looks for ways for JPD to best use an evidence-based approach to preventing crime. We need smart policing that goes beyond sweeps and that shares leadership with non-law enforcement. For instance, candidate Lumumba promised to embrace innovative ideas such as training and equipping “credible messengers”—former criminals who work (and get paid) to interrupt violence among young people who will more easily listen to them than police officers. This proven approach needs to happen sooner rather than later. So far, the mayor and the City approved a new police-academy class and lifted the in-city residency requirement for recruits. He has long said you cannot out-police crime, and that he wants focus on youth programs and creating opportunities by pairing city services with recidivism programs. He should take real action on those innovative

solutions and alternatives now to start the crimeprevention clock. It is urgent that the mayor choose a chief ready to implement evidence-based “community policing” strategies that have more officers walking the beat in crime-prone neighborhoods and getting to know the young people at the highest risk of crime. Lumumba should immediately order the end to perp walks of juveniles and the use of accused children’s mugshots unless they are at large and thus pose immediate risks to the community. The mayor also needs to seriously consider Jackson’s role in “Project Eject.” The feds’ announcement of this Jeff Sessions strategy, with Chief Vance by their side, raised serious questions of legality, constitutionality and the wisdom of packing more Jacksonians into prisons where they are likely to become worse criminals and then come home. The bombastic promise to withhold bail and parole makes no sense. And sending criminals to prisons in other states with no family nearby will increase the likelihood of them forming strong ties with hardened gangs in prison to become a part of a new “family.” The mayor has long preached the gospel of criminal-justice reform. That should immediately mean a thorough review of the City’s role in Project Elect and the likely long-term consequences of the approach. Police tend to want to arrest their way of crime, but research shows that is short-sighted. The new chief needs to seek out and lead sensitive, smart policing strategies that are not designed to rip families apart, and worsen future crime, by using federal dollars and failed strategies of the past.

Email letters and opinion to, 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 Business of Us All

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Amber Helsel State Reporter Arielle Dreher City Reporter Ko Bragg Freelance Reporter William Kelly III JFP Daily Editor Dustin Cardon Music Editor Micah Smith Events Editor Rebecca Hester Features and Social Media Intern ShaCamree Gowdy Writers Brynn Corbello, Richard Coupe, Bryan Flynn, Mike McDonald, Greg Pigott, Julie Skipper, Abigail Walker Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Art Director Kristin Brenemen Advertising Designer Zilpha Young Staff Photographer Stephen Wilson ADVERTISING SALES Digital Marketing Specialist Meghan Garner Sales and Marketing Consultant Stephen Wright BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS Distribution Manager Richard Laswell Distribution Raymond Carmeans, Clint Dear, Ruby Parks,Tommy Smith Assistant to the CEO Inga-Lill Sjostrom ONLINE Web Editor Dustin Cardon Web Designer Montroe Headd CONTACT US: Letters Editorial Queries Listings Advertising Publisher News tips Fashion Jackson Free Press 125 South Congress Street, Suite 1324 Jackson, Mississippi 39201 Editorial (601) 362-6121 Sales (601) 362-6121 Fax (601) 510-9019 Daily updates at The Jackson Free Press is the city’s awardwinning, locally owned newsweekly, reaching over 35,000 readers per week via more than 600 distribution locations in the Jackson metro area—and an average of over 35,000 visitors per week at www. The Jackson Free Press is free for pick-up by readers; one copy per person, please. First-class subscriptions are available for $100 per year for postage and handling. The Jackson Free Press welcomes thoughtful opinions. The views expressed in this newspaper are not necessarily those of the publisher or management of Jackson Free Press Inc. © Copyright 2017-2018 Jackson Free Press Inc. All Rights Reserved


settled comfortably into my favorite chair one recent night and began watching the best Christmas movie ever: the 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” No one ever portrayed a better Ebenezer Scrooge than Scottish actor Alastair Sim, who plays to perfection the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” whose ghost-and-spirit-inspired conversion later in the story will have him declaring, “I’m not the man I was!” “I have endeavored in this ghostly little book to raise the ghost of an idea,” Dickens once wrote about his 1843 tale. “May it haunt (readers’) pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it by.” I’ve seen the film a dozen times, and yet I keep discovering new things in it. “You were a good man of business,” Scrooge tells the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. “Business!” cries out Marley, rattling the heavy chains his life of greed and lack of compassion for the poor earned him in eternity. “Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!” Dickens scholar Norrie Epstein says the writer “never failed to weep” whenever he read his story out loud. I’m afraid he’d be sobbing uncontrollably today if he saw how his “ghost of an idea” has fallen on deaf ears. Here in Mississippi, nearly one out of every three children lives in poverty worse than that of Tiny Tim, whose father, Bob Cratchit, Scrooge so poorly pays that he can’t get Tim the medical treatment he needs to save his life. In fact, Tiny Tim might consider himself fortunate even to be alive if he were in Mississippi, which has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Mississippians are more likely to die prematurely than people from any other state. The fact is that Mississippians, young or old, typically don’t live as long as people from other states. When Bob Cratchit begs to take Christmas day off, Scrooge grumbles, “a poor excuse to pick a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December.” Who knows how the old miser (before his conversion) would’ve reacted if Bob had slipped and hurt himself after coming back to work on Dec. 26? Probably much like Missis-

sippi’s Republican leadership. With their gutting of the state’s Workers’ Compensation protections in 2012, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and his fellow Scrooges in the state Legislature have made sure workers here are the nation’s least compensated for work-related injuries and thus the least protected. They are among the country’s most at-risk workers. A Mississippi worker is twice as likely to be killed on the job as the typical U.S. worker. In fact, no one really knows how bad workers have it here in Mississippi because this is one of the nine states that refuse to collect reliable data on serious workplace injuries. Yet hear Bryant’s response to the 2012 Workers’ Compensation gutting— which added a host of hurdles for workers to jump before they can qualify for compensation: Mississippi has “the most jobfriendly environment in America.” Friendly for whom? You know. Here’s another way to say it: Employers in Mississippi don’t have to worry about the “humbug” of being responsible for the safety of their workers. Like Dickens himself, I confess to shedding a tear or two every time I get toward the end of “A Christmas Carol.” After Jacob Marley scares the wits out of the skinflint and then the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future do their work on him, Scrooge is a changed man. No more is he the soulless moneylender who tells a Christmas donation seeker that the poor might be better off dead. That way they could help “decrease the surplus population.” At the end, Scrooge is indeed a new man, one whom people would come to say, “No man could keep Christmas as well as Ebenezer Scrooge.” Dickens offers us hope at the end of his tale. Indeed, isn’t hope the very heart of the Christmas story? Maybe there’s hope even in poor ol’ Mississippi, hope that political leaders one day will see in those less fortunate a common humanity—not simply shirkers or ne’er-do-wells—and thus realize “their common welfare” is the business of us all. Joe Atkins is a veteran journalist, columnist and professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. Email him at jbatkins@ This column does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the JFP.

Maybe there’s hope even in poor ol’ Mississippi.

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the Jackson Free Press 2017 by Bryan Flynn For more coverage, check out

loss of Khari Price, Quinton Campbell and Raheem Watts, but Cortez Edwards, Tim Rowe and Eddie Davis return this season. Oklahoma State University transfer Tyree Griffin and Grand Canyon University transfer Dominic Magee will give USM a boost of talent. Southern Miss still won’t have the depth to compete in every game, but the team will have some fire power to keep things close most games. The non-conference schedule gives USM a chance at being close to .500 when conference play begins in late December. In C-USA, Southern Miss just needs to begin to pull itself to the middle of the league.

Last Season Recap Jackson State fans must wonder about what might have been last season. Injuries derailed a team with a solid chance at the SWAC regular-season or tournament title. A tough non-conference schedule led to a bevy of injuries for the 2016-2017 JSU squad before the conference slate even started. The Tigers still rallied to finish with a late winning streak in conference play, but an injury-free team may have managed to make a run at the NIT or NCAA Tournament. Head coach Wayne Brent did his best to keep last season’s team playing hard despite the setbacks. He has done a great job of making JSU a team that competes night in and night out, even if the 14-18 record might not show it.

This Season’s Outlook Jackson State brought back plenty of talent this season with Chace Franklin, Paris Collins and SWAC Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year Treshawn Bolden taking the lead. Unfortunately, the injury bug has bit back on the Tigers yet again early in this 14 season. Franklin twisted his ankle, and

Bolden suffered a back injury that kept him off the court for several games. As of press time, reports suggest that both players should be back in action this season, and not a moment too soon. Brent will need all the help he can get during SWAC play. Maurice Rivers is another player that should be a major factor in the conference schedule. The Tigers are playing a challenging non-conference schedule, but the only important thing is the SWAC Tournament. JSU plays in a conference that is going to get one NCAA Tournament bid, and if Brent decides to save this team for SWAC play, who could blame him?

Head coach: Wayne Brent (56-75 overall record, all at JSU, entering fifth season) 2016-17 season: 14-18 overall, 10-8 SWAC Radio: 95.5 FM Arena: Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center

Prediction JSU has the talent to challenge any team for the top spot in the SWAC if the Tigers can enter conference play healthy. Like many SWAC squads, they will have to play most of the non-conference slate on the road for money games, though,

Eddie Davis

It will be a tough fight, but finishing strong in March could lay the foundation for an even brighter 2018-2019 season. A stumble could set back the rebuilding process.

filep hoto

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Prediction USM will not have a chance at a postseason this year, but the nightmare for the basketball team could be nearing This Season’s Outlook an end. The Golden Eagles have more talent but not near Some of the scholarship limits are starting to expire, enough talent to make a run at postseason tournament. The which will make the rebuilding job easier, team is at a 7-5 record as of press time. so there is some light at the end of the tun USM needs to show improvement to Head coach: Doc Sadler (26-63 nel. By no means is everything perfect for entering fourth season at USM, 348- build for next season. It is a slow process, 175 entering 12th overall season) USM, but brighter days could be ahead. but the Golden Eagles were in a big mess This season Southern Miss will wel- 2016-2017 season: 9-22 overall, 6-12 after the NCAA sanctions. Just how much C-USA come the most talented team Sadler has Radio: 105.1 FM Southern Miss improves will depend on been able to field. USM will deal with the Arena: Reed Green Coliseum the squad staying healthy.

USM Athletics

Last Season Recap It hasn’t been easy for Doc Sadler at Southern Miss. He ended up dealing with the NCAA sanctions that former coach Donnie Tyndall accrued, and scholarship limitations and injuries made a tough job even tougher for Sadler. That meant more struggles for the Golden Eagles last year. USM started the season with a 3-1 record before losing nine straight games. Southern Miss broke that losing streak with a two-game winning streak but went 4-12 the rest of the season. USM just didn’t have the players to compete because of injuries and the NCAA sanctions. Sadler is really doing a good job coaching based on the situation that he entered. In the last few seasons, he has started in a hole in terms of talent when compared to most of the Golden Eagles’ opponents.

Wayne Brent

and that sometimes leads to a team that is worn out or beset by the injury bug. If the Tigers can avoid taking more damage before entering SWAC play, they should be in great shape to challenge for the conference title. As of press time, unfortunately, they’re sitting at a 3-9 record. When 2018 comes, a healthy JSU team could be one of the top teams to beat in the SWAC. If the Tigers continue to take hard hits, come next year, they will end up wondering what might have been yet again.

This Season’s Outlook Kennedy got most of last year’s squad back this season but had to replace Sebastian Saiz, who was the second leading scorer and top rebounder from last season. The good news is that top scorer Deandre Burnett and third leading scorer Terence

Prediction Rebels fans are quick to point out that Kennedy’s track record, but even they, at some point, have to get tired of seeing the same script play Head coach: Andy Kennedy (234-140 out over and over again. He will likely entering 12th season at UM, 255coach this team up to 19 to 20 wins, but 152 overall entering 13th season) 2016-2017 season: 22-14 overall, the Rebels are only at a 6-5 record as of 10-8 SEC press time. Radio: 93.7 FM This UM team has the talent to make Arena: The Pavilion a run in March, and Kennedy seems to

The Bulldogs’ key losses are I.J. Ready, who graduated, and Mario Kegler, who transferred to Baylor University. But MSU returns most of last season’s roster, including leading scorer Quinndary Weatherspoon, who scored 16.5 points per game despite an injured wrist most of last season. His younger brother, Nick Weatherspoon, also joined the roster this season, and Abdul Ado hit the court after redshirting last season. Both players are expected to be major contributors this season, helping Mississippi State to make another jump forward.

Prediction Once again, MSU is playing a weak out-of-conference slate, and as of press time, the Bulldogs are at a 10-1 record. The non-conference schedule won’t do much to help MSU make the NCAA Head coach: Ben Howland (30-33 at Tournament, though. The Bulldogs MSU entering 3rd season, 431-239 will open SEC play in January against a overall entering 22nd season) 2016-2017 record: 16-16 overall, 6-12 tough University of Arkansas Squad, and SEC they cannot lose seven straight conference Radio: 105.9 FM games again this season. MSU will have to Arena: Humphrey Coliseum

Terence Davis

always have his team in the postseason discussion. The question this season is whether or not the Rebels can get their third NCAA berth and avoid ending up with another bottom-rung NIT trip. Kennedy nearly always has a spot in the NIT, but the Rebels need to take the next step in the SEC.

MSU Athletics

Last Season Recap Mississippi State was a young team last season, and it showed at times. The Bulldogs were up and down but improved over head coach Ben Howland’s first season. MSU had little trouble with a weak non-conference slate, going 9-3 heading into SEC play. After beating the University of Tennessee 64-59 in early February, the Bulldogs were 14-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play. They seemed set up for a possible run to the NIT or another postseason tournament. That is when the wheels fell off. MSU lost seven straight games—and any hope of a postseason berth. The Bulldogs ended the season with backto-back wins over Louisiana State University, one regularseason win and an SEC Tournament win, before losing to the University of Alabama in the second round of the SEC Tournament. MSU finished with plenty of potential heading into this season with a young team returning, however. This Season’s Outlook Everywhere Howland has been before MSU, his teams have made major jumps in record and reached the postseason. This year, Bulldogs fans will be hoping for the same results will happen in Starkville.

Davis are still on the roster. The out-of-conference schedule is not the toughest but does feature a few chances to get what could be a quality win before March rolls around. UM already lost chances at quality wins against the University of Utah and Virginia Tech, though. When conference play begins in early 2018, the Rebels will have to do more than beat up on the bottom half of the league. Kennedy and UM need to win games against the top teams in the conference. Quality wins will be the difference between a trip to the NIT and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. If the Rebels can replace Saiz in the front court, there is plenty of proven back-court talent already on the roster.

University of Mississippi Athletics

Last Season Recap There is no question that Andy Kennedy is the best men’s basketball coach in UM history. He has won 19 or more games in 10 of his 11 seasons thus far and has never finished with a losing season as the Rebels’ head coach. Last season, he led his squad to a 22-14 record and a berth in the NIT. The Rebels beat every team they should have in the non-conference schedule but lost its four showcase out-of-conference games that could have helped the team’s NCAA résumé. In conference, the Rebels lost four out of their first five SEC games. UM finally started to right the ship in midJanuary and into February, but couldn’t win enough conference games to get into the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels had a good record but were lacking quality wins over the course of the season. They ended the season with a loss to Georgia Tech in the NIT quarterfinals.

remarkable run to the NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament title game. Meanwhile, both the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi reached the reached the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. So far this season, many of the women’s teams have pushed to center stage yet again (see page 17). Although only MSU made it to the NCAA Tournament last season, six women’s teams from Mississippi finished with a .500 or better record. When March rolls around, hopefully there will be plenty of men’s and women’s teams from our state in the hunt for conference and tournament titles.

Quinndary Weatherspoon

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •


ow that the 2017-2018 college-basketball season is well underway, it is understandable if you are one of the many Mississippi sports fans who has already forgotten about last season. By the end of the 2016-2017 season, just four men’s teams from our state finished with a .500 record or better—Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University, University of Mississippi and Delta State University—and only DSU and UM made it past their conference tournaments. What most people will remember, however, was the Mississippi State women’s

finish in the top six of the conference just to hope to get an at-large bid to the Big Dance. MSU has youth and talent this season, and a trip to the NIT is a must if this program is set to move to the top of the conference. A trip to the NCAA Tournament, on the other hand, could push this program toward bigger things. Mississippi State is primed to become a contender in the SEC but will face stiff competition against opponents such as Auburn University and the University of Kentucky. 15

2017 Preview

Thursday, Dec. 28

College football (8-11:30 p.m., ESPN): Gear up for the new year with the stout Stanford defense against the high-octane TCU offense. Friday, Dec. 29

College football (7:40-11:10 p.m., ESPN): Feast on the Cotton Bowl matchup between USC and Ohio State. Saturday, Dec. 30

College football (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State takes on Louisville and Heisman finalist Lamar Jackson as the kickoff for the first of four bowl games. Sunday, Dec. 31

NFL (noon-3:30 p.m., CBS): The New Orleans Saints will try to wrap up a playoff spot and the NFC South on the road against division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Monday, Jan. 1

College football (4:10-11 p.m., ESPN): There are five bowl games, including Oklahoma battling Georgia in one College Football Playoff semifinal, but Clemson-Alabama III is the game to make time to watch.

The Smalls by Bryan Flynn

Last season, Alcorn State challenged Texas Southern University for the top spot in the SWAC. The Braves battled TSU close but could not figure out a way to beat a team that has been on top of the conference the last few seasons. Alcorn State finished at 1814 overall and 13-5 in SWAC play. In his third season, coach Montez Robinson might have his best team, which includes Conference Preseason Player of the Year Reginal Johnson and Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year Yalen Reed. ASU guard A.J. Mosby earned SWAC Preseason Second Team honors, adding to the Braves’ talent. Alcorn State plays a tough non-conference slate that will have this team battle-tested before conference play—that is, if injuries don’t pile up. The Braves will once Reginal Johnson again battle Texas Southern, Jackson State and Southern University for the SWAC title. There might not be a harder job at the Division I level than at Mississippi Valley State University. Last season, the Delta Devils played every out-of-conference game on the road and played four teams ranked in the top 20. MVSU started the season with a 15game losing streak before earning its first win of the season. The team stumbled to a 7-25 overall record and 7-11 SWAC record. Once again this season, MVSU plays a tough non-conference slate. The Delta Devils won’t even play a home game until SWAC play begins on New Year’s Day, and then the team hit the road again for two straight road games. Mississippi Valley State can compete in conference play if they make it out of the nonconference slate healthy. The Delta Devils don’t have to win the SWAC but just start showing that the rebuilding effort is heading in the right direction.

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Tuesday, Jan. 2


College basketball (8-10 p.m., SECN): SEC play begins as the MSU men’s basketball team hosts Arkansas in the Bulldogs’ opening conference game. Wednesday, Jan. 3

College basketball (5:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m., SECN): The Rebels men’s basketball team hosts Georgia in the second conference game for both teams. There is no doubt that the high of 2017 came in March as the MSU women’s basketball team defeated UConn and reached the title game. The low has to be Hugh Freeze being fired over his cell-phone records. Follow Bryan Flynn at, @jfpsports and at

Delta State relied on Devin Schmidt last season, as the senior All-American helped the Statesmen to a 23-9 overall record and 16-6 in conference. The Statesmen reached the NCAA South Region Tournament before losing 61-88 to Rollins College. While Schmidt is not returning, DSU has talent, including junior Armon Benford and freshman Matthew Wilson, whom the Gulf Coast Conference named Top Newcomers. In the preseason, the conference picked DSU to finish fourth. The faster DSU can find a scoring replacement for Schmidt, the better this team will improve in the standings. The transition from Division III to Division II has led to some rough seasons for Mississippi College. MC finished last season on a two-game winning streak and winning three of its final five games. The Choctaws struggled to a 7-19 overall record and 4-18 record in Gulf South Conference play.

In this year’s preseason, GSC picked Mississippi College to finish 12th. The conference named newcomers junior Donovan Ham and senior Howard Thomas as players to watch. MC needs to focus on improvement over last season. The Choctaws are not ready to play for the conference title, but they should start becoming a tough team to face. There is nowhere to go but up for Millsaps College after the team went 4-22 overall and 1-13 in conference play. The Majors hope first-year coach Jimmy Smith can turn the program around. Smith hopes that his lone senior Sam Kohnke will provide leadership for this young team. Sophomore Buck Blanz will need to step up his game to give the Majors a one-two scoring punch. Don’t expect a young team with a new head coach to turn things around quickly. A team that lost 20-plus games last year isn’t going to challenge for the Southern Athletic Association title this year. Smith will have to take some lumps this year with his young squad and hope that next season, his team has the experience to compete for the conference title. Things should look brighter this season but do not expect a major upswing just yet. Belhaven basketball has struggled while it transitions from NAIA to Division III. The last winning season for the Blazers was the 2013-2014 season before the school moved to the new classification. Last season, Belhaven finished with a 4-21 record overall and just 2-16 in conference play. The Blazers enter this season still unable to compete for the conference title and postseason. That makes recruiting players harder on fourth-year coach Jonathan Vines. His team was picked to finish sixth in the East Division of the American Southwest Conference. Vines will lean on three guards who made the conference preseason watch list: senior Ron Davis, junior Brent Webber and sophomore Rick Hodum. Record wise, Belhaven should make improvement this season but still isn’t ready to compete with conference heavyweights. Things should get better for the Blazers when they become full Division III members. Belhaven Athletics

It’s time to say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018. As always, there were some great sports moments during the year and some lowlights that we won’t soon forget.

From page 15

ASU Sports


the best in sports over the next seven days by Bryan Flynn

For more coverage, check out

Tougaloo finished last season with a 10-16 overall record and 5-7 in conference play. The Bulldogs were in close games in nearly every loss. Being unable to get wins in close games is a reason why they finished near the bottom of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. The conference picked a Brent Webber more experienced Tougaloo team to finish second in the conference this preseason. Anfernee Parker and Tonzell Handy were selected Preseason All-Conference, and will provide scoring and leadership. Coaching will be a strength for Tougaloo with Thomas Billups back to guide the Bulldogs. This could be the year Tougaloo makes a deep postseason run.

USM finished last season with a 24-10 overall record and a postseason trip. Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNelis always gets the most out of her players and will have to figure out the formula for the postseason with key players from last year’s team graduating. Lee-McNelis does have three starters returning in Jayla King, Megan Brown and Shonte Hailes. The trio will have to provide leadership to the new players, and one or more might have to step into the spotlight this season. USM was picked to finish near the middle of Conference USA in sixth place. No Golden Eagle player made the Preseason All C-USA Team, which shows that this team lacks a superstar. But don’t be surprised if Lee-McNelis gets the Golden Eagles into postseason contention again this year. Strong coaching can make up for a multitude of holes on any basketball team. After finishing the 2016-2017 season with a 1714 record and a trip to the women’s NIT, people do not expect the Rebels to do much this season. The team was picked to finish second to last in the preseason poll.

Women’s Basketball Preview

the first game of the SWAC tournament. This season, ASU will lean on SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Second Team AllSWAC guard Alexus Freeman. The Braves were picked to finish fifth this season in conference play, but if Alcorn State can avoid the terrible start, this team will have a chance to make noise in SWAC play. The Braves could be a force in the SWAC in March with a strong start to the season. Mississippi Valley State ended last season’s nonconference slate with a 3-8 record. The Delta Devils were sitting at 6-4 in conference in early February before things went south. MVSU ended up losing seven straight games and eight of its final nine. Mississippi Valley finished in eighth place in SWAC play, and earned a trip to the conference tournament but lost to top seed Grambling State University. This season, the Delta Devils were picked to finish last in the SWAC and didn’t have a player earn any preseason honors. MSVU is in a tough place to win, and this could be a rocky season with what looks like limited talent.

by Bryan Flynn

Morgan William

The Tigers were 7-4 after winning their opening game in conference play, but then the wheels fell off. Jackson State went on to 10 straight losses as the season went from hope to disaster quickly. JSU rebounded in its last four games but didn’t make the SWAC Tournament due a ninth-place finish. Only the top eight teams in the SWAC reach the conference tournament. The Tigers ended the season with a 12-16 record. This season Jackson State was picked to finish in eighth place and didn’t land a player on the preseason all-conference teams. But if the Tigers can avoid another long losing streak in conference play, this team could be a tough foe come March. Alcorn State just about could not have had a worst start to last season, as the Braves lost their first 12 games and 13 out of the first 14 games at the start of the season. ASU rallied to win seven of its next nine games and get in the thick of the conference race. Things didn’t stay rosy for the Braves, as they went on another losing streak when they lost six of their final seven games of the season. Alcorn State lost four straight games at the end of the season, including

Delta State University went 14-14 overall last season and 11-11 in Gulf South Conference play. The Statesmen were much better at home going 10-3 but struggled on the road with a 4-10 record. DSU is picked to finish seventh, and no players earned preseason honors. This looks like a .500 team again. Mississippi College just missed a .500 record last season, finishing 12-14 overall and 9-13 in GSC play. The Choctaws were slightly better at home at 8-6 and didn’t play well on the road at 4-8. This season, MC is picked to finish ninth in the conference with no players earning preseason honors. Unless this team gets significantly better at protecting home court, a major jump in wins does not look likely. Millsaps College went 17-10 overall last season and 9-5 in conference play. Like other teams in the state, the Majors struggled on the road with a 7-6 record but protected home court with a 9-3 record. Millsaps has a nice mix of returning talent and newcomers, with six freshmen on the roster. It might take time for everything to mesh, but the Majors could be a threat when everything comes together. Belhaven University is picked to finish fifth in the East Division of the American Southwest Conference as the team transitions to Division III. Last season the Blazers showed promise when they went 14-11 overall and 9-9 in conference play. Belhaven’s season will hinge on senior guard Ke’Asia Gray (see page 3), who is on the conference’s preseason watch list. The Blazers have talent but have to put it all together. Tougaloo College ended last season with a 9-15 record with the bulk of the damage done on the road as the Bulldogs went 3-8 away from home. Tougaloo was average at home going 5-5 and finished 1-2 in neutral site games. This preseason, the Bulldogs were picked to finish sixth in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. If Tougaloo is going to beat the projection, then Preseason All-Conference member Montoria Atkinson must come up big this season. 17 December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

MSU was picked to finish second in the SEC behind the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks have become a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side. Mississippi State went 34-5 overall last season, but three of those five losses were to South Carolina, including the national title game. Finding some way to defeat the Gamecocks could mean a title for the Bulldogs. Head coach Vic Schaefer returns stars Victoria Vivians and Morgan William. Both Vivians and William were named to the Preseason All-SEC Team and will get help from a strong supporting cast. Except for being hit with major injuries, there is no reason why MSU cannot make another deep run this March. This team has the talent to win it all, and getting a win over South Carolina could finally push this squad over the top.

A major reason for the Rebels’ low prediction is the fact that the team returns just one senior, Shandricka Sessom, this year. That means Sessom will have to take up the bulk of the leadership role this season. The youthful Rebels bring in plenty of talent in Promise Taylor and Chyna Nixon. If head coach Matt Insell can successfully weave in the returning players with the talented newcomers, the Rebels could be a surprise in the SEC. UM might not make the NCAA Tournament this year since the SEC women is stacked with top teams like MSU and South Carolina. That does not mean this team would not be able to use this season to build toward something special next year.

Mississippi State University


ost of the talk in Mississippi about women’s college basketball for the 2017-2018 season will focus on Mississippi State University after the Bulldogs broke the University of Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak during the Final Four. The win over UConn earned MSU a trip to the National Championship Game. A thrilling ride from the Bulldogs ended with a title-game loss, but the core of that team returns for this season. The University of Southern Mississippi earned a bid to the postseason Women’s NIT. The bad news is that key players from last year are not on the Golden Eagles’ roster this season. The University of Mississippi also reached the Women’s NIT. Overall, the women were successful last season with MSU, USM, the University of Mississippi, Delta State University, Millsaps College and Belhaven University finishing the season at .500 or better. Jackson State University and Mississippi College were just a handful of games from a winning record.


Ring in the New Year by Dustin Cardon and Amber Helsel Krystal Ball and Catfish Drop Hal & Mal’s (200 S. Commerce St.) will host the 20th-annual Krystal Ball and the ninth-annual catfish drop on New Year’s Eve. The event features live music, Krystal’s sliders, party favors, hors d’oeuvres, Champagne at midnight and more. The event is 21 and up. For more information, call 601-948-0888 or visit

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

NYE Celebration On Sunday, Dec. 31, The Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs (655 Duling Ave., 601-366-3427) will host a New Year’s Eve event with guest chef David Crews from Delta Supper Club. The event will have a five-course menu including a happy hour and drink pairings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Seating is limited for that menu. Beginning at 9 p.m., Crews will have a “Late Night Delta Truck Stop Food” menu with cocktails. For more information, find The Apothecary on Facebook. New Year’s Eve Celebracion In celebration of the new year, Cantina Laredo (200 District Blvd.) will have a special three-course menu available from Dec. 29-Jan. 1. The menu includes ribeye with cascabel sauce (a type of chile-based sauce); pollo asado, which is roasted chicken with grilled street corn and black beans; and fajitas de camparon y piña, which is bacon-wrapped shrimp filled with Monterey Jack cheese and jalapeño with grilled pineapple. On Dec. 31, Cantina Laredo will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 601-982-7061.

New Year’s Eve with Hilton and Drago’s Hilton Jackson (1001 E. County Line Road) will have a couples’ New Year’s 18 Eve package starting at $299 per couple

New Year’s at Pop’s Saloon Featuring Nashville South Pop’s Saloon (2636 S. Gallatin St.) will host a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring live music from country band Nashville South. The event is from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. For more information, call 601-961-4747 or find Pop’s Saloon or Nashville South on Facebook. flickr/Marco verch

Noon Year’s Eve The Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Museum Blvd., 601-9815469) will host its annual Noon Year’s Eve event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 30. During the event, children can build their own confetti cannon, make a party hat, dance and watch the museum’s rocket full of wishes launch during the countdown at noon. The event is included with regular admission to the museum, which will be open until 5 p.m. that day. Admission is $10, and members and children under 1 get in free. For more information, visit

that includes overnight accommodations, dinner at Drago’s, live music from Sassy Jones, a Champagne toast at midnight, a New Year’s Day brunch at Wellington’s in the Hilton and more. For more information, visit

Ring in 2018 with help from local businesses. Find more New Year’s Event happenings at

ISH New Year’s Party On Sunday, Dec. 31 ISH Grill & Bar’s (5105 Interstate 55 N.) New Year’s Eve party kicks off at 6 p.m. and features party favors and drink specials, along with a Champagne toast at midnight. Blues artist Jonte Mayon will perform beginning at 8 p.m. For more information, find ISH on Facebook. New Year’s Eve Blow Out On Sunday, Dec. 31, Martin’s Restaurant & Bar (214 S. State St.) will host a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring live music from Young Valley, El Obo and Cody Rogers. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the event starts at 10 p.m. The event is for people ages 18 and up. For more information, call 601-3549712, visit or find Martin’s on Facebook.

McB’s New Year’s Eve Party On Sunday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m., McB’s Bar & Grill (815 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland) will have a New Year’s Eve event with live music from The Slangin’ Willies, party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. The event is free. For more information, call 601-956-8362. New Year’s Eve HRC Connect Event On Sunday, Dec. 31, the Human Rights Campaign will host a New Year’s Eve connect event at Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919, salandmookies. com) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. After 9 p.m., the event will move to WonderLust (3911 Northview Drive, 337-378-9003, in preparation for the NYE countdown. Pop, Fizz, Clink On Sunday, Dec. 31, Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro (407 S. Congress St.) will host a special New Year’s Eve dinner from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. featuring a five-course menu from Chef Matthew Kajdan that diners can order a la carte and pair with wine. For more information, visit westinjackson. com or find the event on Facebook. ‘When Cletus Met Elizabeth’ The Detectives Dinner Theatre will present its newest play, “When Cletus met Elizabeth,” at Kismet’s Restaurant (315 Crossgates Blvd., Brandon) beginning at 7 p.m. The dinner is $42 per person, and seating begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit New Year’s Eve Silent Disco On Sunday, Dec. 31, Northpark Mall (1200 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland) will host a New Year’s Eve silent disco. During the event, participants will receive headphones and listen to DJ 5150 perform. The event will include confetti, balloons, party favors and more. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, find the event on Facebook. New Year’s Eve at Saltine On Sunday, Dec. 31, Saltine Oyster Bar (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201) will have its full menu available, along with featured specials. On New Year’s Day, Saltine will have its full brunch available, plus red beans and rice. For more information, find the business on Facebook.

New Year’s Eve Grand Celebration On Sunday, Dec. 31, Cowboy’s Saloon (208 W. Capitol St., 601-944-0402) will host a New Year’s Eve party featuring Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 9 p.m. The cover charge is $10, and Cowboy’s Saloon will have bottomless domestic drafts and $1.50 domestic bottles. For more information, find the event on Facebook. New Year’s Celebration On Saturday, Dec. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 31, Farmer’s Table in Livingston (1030 Market St., Flora) will host a New Year’s Eve celebration. The dinner includes Champagne and a dinner that will feature caviar, seared foie gras á l’orange, scallops over lobster risotto, crème brûlée and more. For more information, call 601-506-6821 or visit New Year’s Eve Dinner On Sunday, Dec. 31, BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111) will have a five-course menu with wine pairings for each course. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and will have a Champagne toast and sparklers starting at 9 p.m. Seatings earlier in the night are $70, and later seatings are $85. For more information, visit NYE 2018 at Johnny T’s On Sunday, Dec. 31, Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues (538 N. Farish St.) will have a New Year’s Eve party. Everyone gets in free until 11 p.m., and the event includes a midnight Champagne toast. For VIP and bottle service information, call 601201-0658. For more information, find the business on Facebook. NYE 2018 at Fenian’s Pub On Sunday, Dec. 31, Fenian’s Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-9480055) will have a New Year’s Eve party. The event will have a Guinness toast at 7 p.m., and a Champagne toast at midnight. It will have music from The Grand Shillelaghs, and party favors and drink specials. For more information, find the business on Facebook. This is not a complete list. To see and add more, visit Visit to see our events calendar. Paid advertising section. Call 601-362-6121 x11 to list your restaurant

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December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Specializing in fresh Japanese and Thai cuisine, our extensive



FRIDAY 12/29


SUNDAY 12/31

Ben Sparaco & the New Effect perform at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar.

The “Rise & Grind” Coffee Run is at StinkyFeet Athletics in Flowood.

The New Year’s Eve Silent Disco is at Northpark Mall.

BEST BETS Dec. 27, 2017 Jan. 3, 2018 Charles Washington / fullofflava photography


“A Christmas Story: The Musical” is at 1 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). The musical is an adaptation of the classic 1983 film and follows Ralphie Parker on his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. $28-$85;


The Brown Bag Lunch Talk is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the U.S. Small Business Administration (210 E. Capitol St.). Participants discuss concepts regarding starting, financing and growing a small business. Free admission; email;

FRIDAY 12/29

Stephen Wilson

The Young & Fly Tour is at 7:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). The hip-hop concert features Moneybagg Yo, Miss Mulatto, Jaquees, Yfn Lucci, Level, King Imprint and Lil Lonnie. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $24-$49; … “Country Cousinz III: Jackson vs. Atlanta” is at 8 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s (200

(Left to right) Dolla Black and Savvy of local hip-hop duo BlkCrwn perform as part of “Country Cousinz III: Jackson vs. Atlanta,” which features performers from both cities, at Hal & Mal’s on Friday, Dec. 29.


Soulabration 2017 is at 7 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). The concert features performances from Grammy Award-winner Bobby Rush, Peggy Scott-Adams, Calvin Richardson, Omar Cunningham, Adrian Bagher and Big Pokey Bear. $32-$50; ticketmaster. com. … “A Night in Paris” is from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Arts Center by Rebecca Hester of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Includes hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast, music from DJ IE, Karen Brown, Angela Walls, Fax: 601-510-9019 Tiger Rogers, Kerry Thomas and Daily updates at Henry Rhodes, and more. A tion of the proceeds goes to the Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi and Wendy Hatcher Transitional Home. $45 per individual, $64 per couple;

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •


SUNDAY 12/31 Chef Matthew Kajdan presents a special fivecourse meal for the New Year’s Eve Dinner at Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro on Dec. 31.

Commerce St.). The hip-hop showcase features Scotty ATL, Kissee Lee and Jay Dot Rain, BlkCrwn, Flywlkr and 20 Beezie. Admission TBA; find it on Facebook.

The New Year’s Eve Dinner is at 5 p.m. at Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro (407 S. Congress St.). Chef Matthew Kajdan presents a five-course meal, which can be ordered a la carte or with wine pairings. Reservations recommended. Food prices vary; find it on Facebook. … The New Year’s Eve Blowout is at 9 p.m. at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar (214 S. State St.). Includes music from Young Valley, El

Obo and Cody Rogers. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission TBA; call 601-354-9712;


First Day Hikes is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at LeFleur’s Bluff (3315 Lakeland Terrace). At Pavilion 8. Includes family-friendly guided and self-guided trail hikes in celebration of the seventh annual America’s State Parks “First Day Hikes” initiative. Free admission;


“Winter Wonderland” is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Smith-Wills Stadium (1200 Lakeland Drive). The City of Jackson Department of Parks and Recreation hosts the indoor synthetic ice-skating rink. Reservations required. Additional dates: Dec. 27-30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Jan. 1-3, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. $10 ages 18 and up, $7 ages 17 and under (cash only); call 601-960-0819.


“Beauty & the Beast” is at 7 p.m. at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). The musical adaptation of Disney’s popular animated film tells the classic story of Belle and the Beast. Additional dates: Dec. 4-5, 7 p.m., Jan. 6, 2 p.m., Jan. 12-13, 7 p.m., Jan. 14, 2 p.m. $35 admission, $28 for seniors, students and military;

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December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

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JFP- SPONSORED “Writing to Change Your World” Jan. 6, Jan. 20, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 24, noon-2:30 p.m., at Jackson Free Press (125 S. Congress St., Suite 1324). JFP Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd leads the five-session creative nonfiction class, which teaches participants to write sparkling stories, essays, columns, memoirs and more. Recordings available for those who miss sessions. $275 through Dec. 31; regular $350 (includes workbook and snacks);

COMMUNITY Christmas Wonderland Dec. 27-28, 10 a.m.11 p.m., Dec. 29-31, noon-11 p.m., Jan. 1-3, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., at Trustmark Park (1 Braves Blvd., Pearl). The family-friendly outdoor holiday event includes ice-skating, a double ice slide, inflatables and more. Ticket packages available for events. $2 ages 12 & under, $3 ages 13 & up, activity prices vary; call 601-212-8810; email; find it on Facebook. Winter Wonderland Dec. 27-30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Jan. 1-3, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., at Smith-Wills Stadium (1200 Lakeland Drive). The City of Jackson Department of Parks and Recreation hosts the indoor synthetic iceskating rink. Reservations required. $10 ages 18 and up, $7 ages 17 and under (cash only); call 601-960-0819. BYOB (Bring Your Own Board Game) Dec. 28, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., at Ridgeland Public Library (397 Highway 51, Ridgeland). Participants bring a board game to play with others. Includes coffee and water. Free admission; call 601-856-4536; Brown Bag Lunch Talk Dec. 28, 11:30 a.m.1 p.m., at U.S. Small Business Administration (210 E. Capitol St.). Participants discuss concepts regarding starting, financing and growing a small business. Free admission; email rosetta.harris@;

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Kundi Kwanzaa Celebration Dec. 29, 7 p.m., at Kundi Compound (256 E. Fortification St.). The cultural celebration focuses on the tenet of “ujamaa,” meaning cooperative economics. Includes food and entertainment. Free admission; call 601-345-8680; find it on Facebook.


New Year’s Eve Silent Disco Dec. 31, 4-6 p.m., at Northpark Mall (1200 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland). At Center Court. The disco with a twist will consist of participants receiving synced headphones to listen to the music, including dancing, party favors, lasers, confetti and more. Free admission; call 601-863-2300; find it on Facebook.

KIDS Winter Friends—Bricks 4 Kidz Dec. 28, 1-3 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). Participants learn fundamentals of S.T.E.M. education and architectural engineering through building with toy bricks and more. $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 3 and up; call 601-576-6000; find it on Facebook. Noon Year’s Eve Dec. 30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Museum Blvd.). Children build their own confetti can-

non, create a party hat and dance into the New Year with live music. Includes a countdown and rocket launch at noon. Included with admission ($10 per person, free for ages 1 and under); call 601-709-2603; “The Story of Ferdinand” Story Time Dec. 30, 11 a.m., at Barnes & Noble (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 3009, Ridgeland). Includes a reading of the classic children’s book and themed activities. Free admission; call 601-6054028;

FOOD & DRINK New Year’s Eve Dinner Dec. 31, 5 p.m., at Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro (407 S. Congress St.). Chef Matthew Kajdan presents a five-course meal, which can be ordered a la carte or with wine pairings. Reservations recommended. Menu prices vary; call 769-235-8400; find it on Facebook. New Year’s Eve Dinner Dec. 31, 6:30 p.m., at BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, Suite 244). The five-course meal includes a wine pairing for each course. Early seating begins at 6:30 p.m., and late seating, which includes an extra champagne toast and sparklers, begins at 9 p.m. $70 early seating, $85 late seating; call 601-982-8111;

BE THE CHANGE A Night in Paris Dec. 30, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Includes hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast, live music from DJ IE, Karen Brown, Angela Walls, Tiger Rogers, Kerry Thomas and Henry Rhodes, and more. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi and Wendy Hatcher Transitional Home. $45 per individual, $64 per couple;

“When Cletus Met Elizabeth” Dinner Theater Dec. 31, 7-9 p.m., at Kismet’s Restaurant (315 Crossgates Blvd., Brandon). The Detectives Comedy Dinner Theatre presents an interactive mystery dinner show with a three-course meal. Seating at 6:30 p.m. $42 per person; call 601291-7444; email thedetectivestheatre@gmail. com; New Year’s Eve—Ring in 2018 Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., at Hilton Jackson (1001 E. County Line Road). Includes dinner at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, music from Sassy Jones, a champagne toast at midnight, luxury overnight accommodations, and a New Year’s Day brunch at Wellington’s. Reservations required. $299 per couple; call 601-957-2800; email billie.burns@; find it on Facebook.

SPORTS & WELLNESS “Slay in Slow Motion” Slumber Party Dec. 29, 7-8 p.m., at Epic Dance & Fitness (829 Wilson Drive, Ridgeland). Instructor MiMi Magic leads

the class. Participants learn sensual floor routines. Includes cocktails and refreshments. Pajamas and socks are encouraged. $10 per person; call 601398-0137; find it on Facebook. “Rise & Grind” Coffee Run Dec. 30, 7:3010:30 a.m., at StinkyFeet Athletics (153 Ridge Way, Suite C, Flowood). The community run is for participants of all skill levels and ages. Includes coffee and a light breakfast following the run. Free admission; find it on Facebook. First Day Hikes Jan. 1, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at LeFleur’s Bluff (3315 Lakeland Terrace). At Pavilion 8. Includes family-friendly guided and selfguided trail hikes in celebration of the seventh annual America’s State Parks “First Day Hikes” initiative. Free admission; call 601-888-6040; email;

STAGE & SCREEN “A Christmas Story: The Musical” Dec. 27, 1 p.m., at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). The musical is an adaptation of the classic 1983 film and follows Ralphie Parker on his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. The comedic play features songs from the awardwinning writers of “La La Land” and “Dear Evan Hansen.” $28-$85; “Beauty & the Beast” Jan. 3, 7 p.m., at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). The musical adaptation of Disney’s popular animated film tells the classic story of Belle and the Beast. Appropriate for all ages. $35 admission, $28 for seniors, students and military; call 601-9483533;

CONCERTS & FESTIVALS Events at Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.) • Young & Fly Tour 2017 Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m. The hip-hop concert features music from Moneybagg Yo, Miss Mulatto, Jaquees, Yfn Lucci, Level, King Imprint and Lil Lonnie. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $24-$49; call 678322-8098; • Soulabration 2017 Dec. 30, 7 p.m. The concert features performances from Grammy Award-winner Bobby Rush, Peggy Scott-Adams, Calvin Richardson, Omar Cunningham, Adrian Bagher and Big Pokey Bear. $32-$50; Country Cousinz III: Jackson vs. Atlanta Dec. 29, 8 p.m., at Hal & Mal’s (200 Commerce St.). The hip-hop showcase features Atlanta performers Scotty ATL, Kissee Lee and Jay Dot Rain, and Jackson performers Blk Crwn, Flywlkr and Beezie. Admission TBA; call 601948-0888; find it on Facebook. L.A.V. & Friends: Live, Up Close & Personal Dec. 29, 9 p.m., at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). The concert also includes performances from Chris Spade, Eric Robinson and The Nasty Sho. Doors will open at 8 p.m. $15 in advance; call; find it on Facebook. Events at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar (214 S. State St.) • Ben Sparaco & the New Effect Dec. 29, 10 p.m. The Florida-native guitarist, singer and songwriter’s latest single is titled “There Is No Them.” $10 admission; call 601-354-9712;

• Riverbend Reunion Dec. 30, 10 p.m. The southern rock band from Nashville, Tenn., performs. Doors open at 9 p.m. $10 admission; call 601-354-9712; • New Year’s Eve Blowout Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Includes music from Young Valley, El Obo and Cody Rogers. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission TBA; call 601-354-9712; Up Close & Personal with SIKA Dec. 30, 7 p.m., at Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave.). Includes a live performance of new music from SIKA, a Q&A segment and a screening of a video showing a timeline of her career. $10 admission; call 601-376-9404; find it on Facebook. Cowboy Mouth Dec. 30, 8 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The New Orleans-based rock-and-roll band’s latest album is titled “Go!” Doors open at 7 p.m. $15 in advance, $20 day of event; call 877-987-6487; New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 6 p.m., at ISH Grill & Bar (5105 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road). Includes party favors, drink specials, a champagne toast at midnight, and music from Jonte Mayon and DJ Phingaprint. $20 admission, VIP packages available; call 769-257-5204; find it on Facebook. New Year’s Eve Grand Celebration Dec. 31, 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m., at Cowboy’s Saloon (208 W. Capitol St.). Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys performs. Includes giveaways, drink specials and more. $10 per person; call 601-944-0402; find it on Facebook. McB’s New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 8 p.m., at McB’s Bar & Grill (815 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland). The celebration includes live music from The Slangin’ Willies, party favors and free champagne at midnight. Free admission; call 601-956-8362; find it on Facebook.

CREATIVE CLASSES 2018 Vision Board Party Dec. 29, 6-9 p.m., at Capitol Club (125 S. Congress St.). Participants learn how to create and construct a personal vision board for 2018. Includes refreshments and wine. RSVP. $15 per person (includes supplies); Creative Healing Studio Jan. 3, 12:30-1:30 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). Art therapist Susan Anand facilitates the bi-monthly art therapy class for adults who are being treated for cancer and those who have cancer diagnosis. Free admission; call 601-960-1515;

LGBT New Year’s Eve HRC Connect Event Dec. 31, 7-9 p.m., at Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St.). Attendees network with supporters, members and volunteers with the Human Rights Campaign and celebrate the past year and the New Year. After 9 p.m., attendees can move to WonderLust to prepare for the countdown. Free admission; find it on Facebook. Check for updates and more listings, or to add your own events online. You can also email event details to to be added to the calendar. The deadline is noon the Wednesday prior to the week of publication.

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Classes begin January 8. 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 person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Vice President for Utica Campus and Administrative Services and District Dean of Student Services & Title IX Coordinator Box 1003, Utica, MS 39175 . Phone: 601.885.7002 or Email:

As you explore your options for college, see how a smaller, public university education may be just what you are looking for!

To learn more, contact the Office of Admissions at 662.254.3347, 800.GO2.MVSU, or visit

2500 North State Street | 100 Alumni Drive | 1-800-643-1567 December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Get the personal attention you deserve and the classes you need to be successful at MVSU. The close-knit community at The Valley prepares graduates for careers in a diverse social, political and global environment.


Music listings are due noon Monday to be included in print and online listings:

Dec. 27 - Wednesday Char - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m. Hal & Mal’s - New Bourbon Street Jazz Band 6-8 p.m. free Kathryn’s - Gator Trio 6:30-9:30 p.m. McB’s - Phil & Trace 8 p.m. Pelican Cove - Acoustic Crossroads 6-10 p.m. Shucker’s - Road Hogs 7:30 p.m. free Table 100 - Andy Henderson 6 p.m.

Dec. 28 - Thursday

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

Dec. 29 - Friday


Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar, Vicksburg - Mike Rob & the 601 Band 8 p.m. Cerami’s - Doug Bishop & James Bailey 6:30-9:30 p.m. Char - Ronnie Brown 6 p.m. Drago’s - Brandon Greer 6-9 p.m. Fenian’s - Titanium Blue 10 p.m. Georgia Blue, Flowood - Kevin Ace Robinson Georgia Blue, Madison - Hannah Belle Hal & Mal’s - Country Cousinz III feat. Scotty ATL, Kissee Lee, Blk Crwn, Flywlkr, Beezie & Jay Dot Rain 8 p.m. Iron Horse Grill - Sherman Lee Dillon 9 p.m. Kathryn’s - Jay Wadsworth 7-10:30 p.m. M Bar - Flirt Fridays feat. DJ 901 free Martin’s - Ben Sparaco & the New Effect 10 p.m. MS Coliseum - Young & Fly Tour feat. Moneybagg Yo, Miss Mulatto, Jaquees, Yfn Lucci, Level, King Imprint & Lil Lonnie 7:30 p.m. $24-$49 Pelican Cove - Barry Leach Trio 6-10 p.m.

Dec. 30 - Saturday Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar, Vicksburg - Eddie Cotton Jr. 8 p.m. $10 Char - Bill Clark 6 p.m. Drago’s - Larry Brewer 6-9 p.m. Duling Hall - Cowboy Mouth 8 p.m. $15 advance $20 door F. Jones Corner - Big Money Mel & Small Change Wayne 10 p.m. $1; Sherman Lee Dillon & the Mississippi Sound midnight $10 Georgia Blue, Flowood - Jim Tomlinson Georgia Blue, Madison - Brandon Greer Hal & Mal’s - Eric Stracener 6-9 p.m.

Underground 119 - Good Paper of the Rev. Robert Mortimer 9 p.m. WonderLust - Drag Performance & Dance Party feat. DJ Taboo 8 p.m.-3 a.m. free before 10 p.m.

Dec. 31 - Sunday Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar, Vicksburg - Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster 8 p.m. $25 Cowboy’s Saloon - NYE Grand Celebration feat. Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys 7 p.m. $10 Drago’s - Jason Turner Band 8 p.m.-midnight The Hideaway - NYE Bash feat. Splendid Chaos 9 p.m. Iron Horse Grill - Jimmy “Duck” Holmes 6 p.m. ISH Grill & Bar - NYE Party feat. Jonte Mayon 6 p.m.-midnight Kathryn’s - Todd Thompson & the Lucky Hand Blues Band 6:30-10:30 p.m. Martin’s - NYE Blowout feat. Young Valley, El Obo & Cody Rogers 10 p.m. McB’s - NYE Party feat. The Slangin’ Willies 8 p.m. free Northpark Mall - NYE Silent Disco feat. DJ 5150 4-6 p.m. free Pelican Cove - NYE Party feat. Wayward Jones 8 p.m.-midnight Pop’s Saloon - NYE Bash feat. Nashville South 9 p.m. Wellington’s - Sassy Jones 9 p.m.12:30 a.m.


Finding the New Effect by Micah Smith


t age 20, Florida native Ben Sparaco has already amassed a highlight reel longer than many that of many older guitarists and songwriters. Since launching his solo career in 2015, he has shared the stage with members of established acts such as Mumford & Sons, Dead & Company, and the North Mississippi Allstars. Sparaco grew up in a family lacking in musicians but filled with music fans, and says that at an early age, he became courtesy Ben Sparaco

Char - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m. Drago’s - Johnny Barranco 5:30-8:30 p.m. F. Jones Corner - Raul Valinti & the F. Jones Challenge Band 10 p.m. $5 Georgia Blue, Flowood - Aaron Coker Georgia Blue, Madison - Jason Turner Hal & Mal’s - D’lo Trio 7-9:30 p.m. free Iron Horse Grill - Chasin’ Dixie 6 p.m. Kathryn’s - Scott Turner Trio 6:30-9:30 p.m. Pelican Cove - Jonathan Alexander 6-10 p.m. Shucker’s - Larry Brewer & Doug Hurd 7:30 p.m. free Table 100 - Andrew Pates 6 p.m. Underground 119 - Chris Gill 7-10:30 p.m.

Pop’s Saloon - Mississippi Queen 9 p.m. Davis Planetarium - L.A.V. w/ Chris Spade, Eric Robinson & The Nasty Sho 9 p.m. $15 Shucker’s - Acoustic Crossroads 5:30 p.m.; Hunter & the Gators 8 p.m. $5; Jason Turner 10 p.m. Soulshine, Ridgeland - Steve Chester 7-10 p.m. Table 100 - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m. Underground 119 - Southern Komfort Brass Band 8:30 p.m. WonderLust - DJ Taboo 8 p.m.2 a.m.

Courtesy Facebook

MUSIC | live

Jan. 1 - Monday Happy New Year!

Jan. 2 - Tuesday Miss Mulatto Iron Horse Grill - The Sal-tines 9 p.m. ISH Grill & Bar - “Jackson Nights” feat. Terrell Moses & DJ Phingaprint 9 p.m. Kathryn’s - Acoustic Crossroads 7-10:30 p.m. Martin’s - Riverbend Reunion 10 p.m. MS Coliseum - Soulabration feat. Bobby Rush, Peggy ScottAdams, Calvin Richardson, Omar Cunningham, Adrian Bagher & Big Pokey Bear 7 p.m. $32-$50 Offbeat - Up Close & Personal w/ SIKA 7 p.m. $10 Pelican Cove - Jason Turner 6-10 p.m. Pop’s Saloon - Pop Fiction 9 p.m. Shucker’s - 4 on the Floor 3:30 p.m.; Hunter & the Gators 8 p.m. $5; Josh Journeay 10 p.m. Table 100 - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m.

Char - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m. Fenian’s - Open Mic Kathryn’s - Stace & Cassie 6:30-9:30 p.m. Last Call Sports Grill - Top-Shelf Tuesdays feat. DJ Spoon 9 p.m. Table 100 - Chalmers Davis 6 p.m.

Jan. 3 - Wednesday Char - Tommie Vaughn 6 p.m. Kathryn’s - Larry Brewer & Doug Hurd 6:30-9:30 p.m. Pelican Cove - Bryan McQuaid 6-10 p.m. Table 100 - Andy Henderson 6 p.m.

Submit listings to music@ jacksonfreepress. com by noon Monday for inclusion in the next issue.

12/28 - Wynonna & the Big Noise - IP Casino, Resort & Spa, Biloxi 12/29 - Better Than Ezra- Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi 12/29-12/30 - George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic - Tipitina’s, New Orleans 12/30 - Xscape - Landers Center, Memphis

Ben Sparaco and the New Effect perform at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar on Friday, Dec. 29.

fascinated with the ’60s and ’70s music his parents would play, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At 4 years old, Sparaco began taking guitar lessons. By age 11, he was sitting in with various blues and cover bands around southeastern Florida, and by age 15, he began writing his own music. “I think part of it’s just the natural evolution of being any sort of artist,” he says. “You kind of want to do something that is your own, just to feel like you’re making something fresh. As fun as it is to play other people’s music, there’s a point where it can get tiring because you’ve heard it all before.” During that time, Sparaco says he began studying other styles of guitar playing, including gospel, R&B, American and European folk, bluegrass and jazz, elements of which still appear in his music today. He also started focusing on the craft of song-

writing, from the lyrical content to the way artists construct songs. “That’s kind of when I was like, ‘I should probably start giving this a shot.’ It wasn’t good for a while. I’m still not sure if it’s good to be honest,” he says with a laugh. “But I think it was kind of a combination of boredom and expanding my musical horizons at the time.” He continued writing original music even after joining Crazy Fingers, a popular Grateful Dead tribute band in southern Florida, in early 2015. At that point, Sparaco says a career as a solo artist was still somewhere in the back of his mind, but through touring and playing with Crazy Fingers, he began finding his voice and learning to play onstage with a unit. “It made me really hungry to lead my own band and kind of do my own thing,” he says. In August 2015, just a day before he moved to Nashville, Tenn., Sparaco formed a backing band and launched his solo career. Since then, he has played more than 100 shows and released two recording projects, an EP titled “Bring the Jubilee” in spring 2016 and his debut full-length album, “Wooden,” in January 2017. However, Sparaco says that Jacksonians can anticipate a wide variety of sounds when he and his new touring band, The New Effect, come the capital city on Dec. 29. Whereas “Wooden” featured a seven-piece bluegrass-rock band, the latest iteration that he has been touring with over the past year is a four-piece soul-rock group. The change to a smaller, more permanent lineup has been a positive one, though, he says. Fans can hear the first fruits of that on Sparaco’s latest single, “There Is No Them,” which he released on Dec. 6, and later on his sophomore album in March 2018. “We’ve really started to work out some new songs on the road, and everybody’s voice can be heard a little bit more on these new songs because we’ve actually lived with them for a while,” he says. “So we’re really excited to get in the studio and make a record … instead of me writing the songs, handing them to session players and hitting ‘record’ right away.” Ben Sparaco and the New Effect perform at 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 29, at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar (214 S. State St.). Doors open at 9 p.m. For more information, visit

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

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Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Maywood Mart Shopping Center 1220 E. Northside Dr. 601-366-5676 Please Drink Responsibly


42 ___ La Table (kitchen store) 43 Hockey legend Bobby 44 PC drive insert, once 46 Result of a three-putt, maybe 50 Basketball Hall of Fame sportscaster Dick 52 “Quite so,” in Quebec 54 Channel skipped on old TV dials 55 Sparring with a punching bag for only half the usual time, e.g.? 59 President born in 1961 60 Kristen of “Bridesmaids” 61 Laila and Tatyana, for two 62 Saucer-steering creature 63 Former education secretary Duncan 64 Actress Garr of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” 65 Houseplant with fronds 66 Cribbage markers 67 Old Internet suffix for Friend or Nap


35 100 cents, in some places 36 Doodle 37 High-altitude type of missile 38 Letters in a car ad 39 Noah’s Ark measurement 40 Election Day mo. 44 Tidied up 45 Providing some “Old MacDonald” sounds, maybe 47 Crooner Robert portrayed by Will Ferrell on “SNL” 48 Complete 49 Compliant agreement

51 History Channel show about loggers 53 Impulses 56 Make a trade 57 Add to the payroll 58 They’re good at landing on their feet 59 Fumbling person ©2017 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@

For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800 655-6548. Reference puzzle #857.



“Chopped” —a little bit off. Across

1 Lumber mill equipment 5 Frittata ingredients 9 Datebook abbr. 13 Defendant’s response 14 Turing played by Benedict Cumberbatch 15 “___ directed” (prescription phrase) 16 Somewhat 17 First-choice 18 “The Hunchback of ___ Dame” 19 No-frills hair stylings to look like a breakfast mascot? 22 Hall who followed McMahon on

“The Tonight Show” 23 Teensy 24 “Fighting” NCAA team 26 “King” bad guy in Super Mario Bros. 28 Barbershop offering 31 Article for the Brothers Grimm 32 1040 recipient 34 Swelling reducer 35 “NFL Live” network 36 Injuries from your book on the beach? 40 Mark Harmon military series 41 Smartphone program

Last Week’s Answers

1 “In the Bedroom” Oscar nominee Sissy 2 Reflectivity measure, in astronomy 3 Creep 4 Fill fully 5 Flyer with exceptional sight 6 World representations? 7 Cat, in Colombia 8 Cold shower? 9 Not ___ (nobody) 10 Most trifling 11 Pale carrot relatives 12 “The Waste Land” writer’s monogram 15 Mom’s brother 20 Cup, maybe 21 Sources of bile 25 Word after Days or Quality 27 Alley targets 29 Zoo attraction with a big bite 30 Do superbly on 33 “The Blacklist” star James

Last Week’s Answers


Each of the 26 letters of the alphabet is represented in this grid by a number between 1 and 26. Using letter frequency, word-pattern recognition, and the numbers as your guides, fill in the grid with well-known English words (HINT: since a Q is always followed by a U, try hunting down the Q first). Only lowercase, unhyphenated words are allowed in kaidoku, so you won’t see anything like STOCKHOLM or LONG-LOST in here (but you might see AFGHAN, since it has an uncapitalized meaning, too). Now stop wasting my precious time and SOLVE!

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Bradley Phillips (1929-1991), Leontyne Price, 1963. oil on canvas. Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. NPG.91.96.

200 years. 100 artists. 1 Mississippi.

CURRENTLY ON VIEW The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and Visit Jackson. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the Nationa Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Picturing Mississippi is supported by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation and


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Post an ad, call 601-362-6121, ext. 11 or fax to 601-510-9019. Deadline: Mondays at Noon.

Your Votes Are In!

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

Hungarian psychiatrist Thomas Szasz dismissed the idea that a person should be on a quest to “find himself” or “find herself.” “The self is not something that one finds,” he said. Rather, “it is something one creates.” I think that’s great advice for you in 2018, Capricorn. There’ll be little value in wandering around in search of fantastic clues about who you were born to be. Instead you should simply be gung-ho as you shape and craft yourself into the person you want to be.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

Is there anything about your attitude or your approach that is a bit immature or unripe? Have you in some way remained an amateur or apprentice when you should or could have become fully professional by now? Are you still a dabbler in a field where you could be a connoisseur or master? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, the coming months will be an excellent time to grow up, climb higher and try harder. I invite you to regard 2018 as the Year of Kicking Your Own Ass.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):

In 2018, one of your themes will be “secret freedom.” What does that mean? The muse who whispered this clue in my ear did not elaborate further. But based on the astrological aspects, here are several possible interpretations. 1. You may have to dig deep and be strategic to access resources that have the power to emancipate you. 2. You may be able to discover a rewarding escape and provocative deliverance that have been hidden from you up until now. 3. You shouldn’t brag about the liberations you intend to accomplish until you have accomplished them. 4. The exact nature of the freedom that will be valuable to you might be useless or irrelevant or incomprehensible to other people.

ARIES (March 21-April 19):

“I need more smart allies, compassionate supporters, ethical role models, and loyal friends, and I need them right now!” writes Joanna K., an Aries reader from Albuquerque, N.M. On the other hand, there’s Jacques T., an Aries reader from Montreal. “To my amazement, I actually have much of the support and assistance I need,” he declares. “What I seem to need more of are constructive critics, fair-minded competitors with integrity, colleagues and loved ones who don’t assume that every little thing I do is perfect, and adversaries who galvanize me to get better.” I’m happy to announce, dear Aries, that in 2018 you will benefit more than usual from the influences that both Joanna and Jacques seek.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •

In the Scots language spoken in Lowland Scotland, a watergaw is a fragmented rainbow that appears between clouds. A skafer is a faint rainbow that arises behind a mist, presaging the imminent dissipation of the mist. A silk napkin is a splintered rainbow that heralds the arrival of brisk wind and rain. In accordance with the astrological omens, I propose we use these mysterious phenomena as symbols of power for you in 2018. The good fortune that comes your way will sometimes be partially veiled and seemingly incomplete. Don’t compare it to some “perfect” ideal. It’ll be more interesting and inspiring than any perfect ideal.


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GEMINI (May 21-June 20):

In 2018, half-buried residues from the past will be resurfacing as influences in your life. Old dreams that you abandoned prematurely are ripe to be re-evaluated in light of what has happened since you last took them seriously. Are these good or bad developments? It will probably depend on your ability to be charitable and expansive as you deal with them. One thing is certain: To move forward into the future, you will have to update your relationships with these residues and dreams.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):

Poet Diane Ackerman tells us that human tongues, lips and genitals possess neural receptors that are ultra-responsive. Anatomists have given unsexy names to these bliss-generating parts of our bodies: Krause end bulbs, also known as bulboid corpuscles. (Couldn’t they have called them “glimmering rapture hubs” or “magic buttons”?) In any case, these sweet spots enable us to experience surpassing pleasure. According to my understanding of the astrological

omens for 2018, Cancerian, your personal complement of bulboid corpuscles will be even more sensitive than usual. Here’s further good news: Your soul will also have a heightened capacity to receive and register delight.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):

Mise en place is a French term whose literal translation is “putting in place.” When used by professional chefs in a restaurant kitchen, it refers to the task of gathering and organizing all the ingredients and tools before beginning to cook. I think this is an excellent metaphor for you to emphasize throughout 2018. In every area of your life, thorough preparation will be the key to your success and fulfillment. Make sure you have everything you need before launching any new enterprise or creative effort.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

Experimental composer Harry Partch played one-of-a-kind musical instruments that he made from objects like car hubcaps, gourds, aluminum ketchup bottles and nose cones from airplanes. Collage artist Jason Mecier fashions portraits of celebrities using materials like noodles, pills, licorice candy, bacon and lipstick tubes. Given the astrological configurations for 2018, you could flourish by adopting a similar strategy in your own chosen field. Your most interesting successes could come from using things as they’re not “supposed” to be used. You could further your goals by mixing and matching resources in unique ways.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

I wish I could make it nice and easy for you. I wish I could proclaim that the forces of darkness are lined up against the forces of light. I’d like to be able to advise you that the opening months of 2018 will bring you a showdown between wrong and right, between ugliness and beauty. But it just ain’t that simple. It’s more like the forces of plaid will be arrayed against the forces of paisley. The showdown will feature two equally flawed and equally appealing sources of intrigue. And so you may inquire, Libra, what is the most honorable role you can play in these matters? Should you lend your support to one side or the other? I advise you to create a third side.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

In 2018, your tribe will be extra skilled at opening things that have been shut or sealed for a long time: heavy doors, treasure boxes, rich possibilities, buried secrets, shy eyes, mum mouths, guarded hearts and insular minds. You’ll have a knack for initiating new markets and clearing blocked passageways and staging grand openings. You’ll be more inclined to speak candidly and freely than any other generation of Scorpios in a long time. Getting stuck things unstuck will come naturally. Making yourself available for bighearted fun and games will be your specialty. Given these wonders, maybe you should adopt a new nickname, like Apertura (the Italian word for “opening”), Ouverture (the French word for “opening”), šiši (Yoruban), Otevírací (Czech), Öffnung (German) or Kufungua (Swahili).

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

I predict that the coming months won’t bring you the kinds of opportunities you were imagining and expecting, but will bring you opportunities you haven’t imagined and didn’t expect. Will you be alert and receptive to these sly divergences from your master plan? If so, by September of 2018 you will have become as smart a gambler as maybe you have ever been. You will be more flexible and adaptable, too, which means you’ll be better able to get what you want without breaking stuff and wreaking whirlwinds. Congratulations in advance, my daring darling. May your experiments be both visionary and practical. May your fiery intentions be both steady and fluidic.

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COWBOY MOUTH the name of the band is... Friday, January 5


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straight outta natchez, these rockstars are the next big thing. don’t miss them.

Wednesday, January 24

FRED EAGLESMITH all hail the legend in our own venue. wow!

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STOOP KIDS + LITTLE STRANGER this is gonna be a very funky good time

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December 27, 2017 - January 2, 2018 •




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V16n17 - 2017-2018 College Basketball Preview  
V16n17 - 2017-2018 College Basketball Preview  

2017-2018 College Basketball Preview, pp 14 - 17 • Women’s Basketball Preview, p 17 • Council Bats Down Tax Increase, pp 6 - 7 • Seeking Me...