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9 NO. 26
Redistricting Woes Hinds County may get hit with not one, but two lawsuits over its redistricting process.
AMILE WILSON; COURTESY MISSISSIPPI POWER; LORENZO GAYDEN; FILE PHOTO
Cover photograph by Daniel Loiselle
THIS ISSUE: Ratepayers Loss ............. Editor’s Note
........................ 8 Days
................. JFP Events
........... Music Listings
...... Girl About Town
Mississippi Power gets a judge’s OK to charge ratepayers up to $3.88 billion for a new plant.
bilal hashim Bilal Hashim is intentional and calm as he welcomes me to the recently relocated StudioOM Yoga studio in Fondren inside the Woodland Hills Shopping Center. Wearing a moss-green shirt and a Hawaiian-stone necklace, he admits that mindfulness is a trait that took him decades to achieve. “I’ve always been busy. If Ritalin was around in the ’60s, I would have been on it,” he says. “But now, it feels good to be calm.” The 46-year-old says living on the islands of Hawaii and Okinawa during his service in the U.S. Navy, and discovering yoga in the early ’90s helped him achieve inner tranquility. As an instructor at StudioOM, he teaches beginners the principles of Iyengar yoga, a style developed by B.K.S. Iyengar in the 1930s, which focuses on uniting the mind and body while using props such as ropes, straps and blocks so that anyone can participate. “Yoga requires presence,” he says. “It requires you to be attentive. … The mind is just as much a part of what we do here as the body.” In 1990, the Jackson native moved to Hawaii where he trained as a hospital corpsman at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, and went on to treat injured soldiers during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Once he returned to Hawaii, he was discharged from the Navy and worked as an information-technology technician for the Veterans Affair’s Pacific Islands Health Care System. He moved back to Jackson in 1995 to work as a network
manager and a picture-archiving and communication-systems manager at the Jackson VA Medical Center, where he converts data from MRI scans into three-dimensional digital images for radiologists. “It’s seeing the body function in real time—the heart beat and organs in the body,” he says about his job. “It’s where the future meets medicine.” Hashim also counsels veterans who struggle with addiction. He says his combat experiences help him relate to his patients. “I had to get away from those experiences and not let them smother reality,” he says about his combat missions. “I encourage a lot of vets to experience yoga because it has a calming effect mentally. I have found that Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) and other hospitals are starting to introduce yoga to patients, and that is significant.” When he isn’t working or teaching yoga, Hashim enjoys long runs through open highways from his home in Pocahontas. Hashim is a barefoot marathoner; he wears Vibram FiveFingers barefoot running shoes to absorb shock and limit potential harm to his muscles and joints. He also mentors students at Provine High School and is currently forming an inner-city running club for area youth. “There isn’t a lot of (marathoning) participation among my ethnic group around here, and I want to change that,” he says. “… We are a heavy state, and it’s unnecessary.” —Lacey McLaughlin
28 Art by Jazz Artist Lorenzo Gayden’s art is guided by America’s music: Jazz.
36 March Madness Confused over your NCAA brackets? Let the JFP guide you to a win.
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Back in the Saddle
ike many of us, I started off the new year so well. I actually began an intensive fitness makeover at 6 a.m. on Dec. 30—just so that I would have a head start on everyone. For Christmas this year, my dad bought me a membership to Mississippi Crossfit— an intense workout program in Ridgeland. After the first workout, I was convinced that what I had actually gotten for Christmas was a membership to a masochistic cult. I thought I was in decent shape until that first workout when I could barely lift myself on the pull-up bar or finish a round of air squats. Crossfit is different from the majority of traditional workouts and features intensive workouts for strength training similar to those of police academies and military special-operation units. The workouts are different every day, and they appear on the gym’s whiteboard resembling this set up: 10 pull ups; 10 push ups; 10 sit ups; 10 air squats. Easy, right? Now do 10 rounds as fast as you can (for a time that is posted for all to see). Before December, my workout routine was anything but regular. With all my obligations, I felt lucky to get one run in a week. Now, as I’m getting a bit older, I’ve realized that making my health and wellness a priority is just as important as any appointment on my calendar. By the second week of February, I had lost a few pounds, and I could even do sumo deadlift high pulls and push presses weights on my barbell. I still had to resist the urge to throw up or cry during a workout, but hey, I was making progress. The support I received from the Crossfit staff and other participants
kept me going. The workouts are not just a test of physical determination, but also of mental strength. It seems like everyone in the program has some kind of addiction to it, and I attribute that to the camaraderie that forms
I’ve completely fallen off the wagon, and it would be easier just to give up. when people are at their breaking point, and then help each other through it. Despite my progress and all the mornings of kicking myself out of bed at 6 a.m., I now have little to show for it. Over the past weeks, I became absorbed in writing a cover story (“Integrating Yazoo: Haley Barbour’s Hometown History”) while letting my sleeping, eating and workout habits fall to the wayside. And after the story was published, I took a road trip through Louisiana where I celebrated Mardi Gras by eating my fill of fried seafood, Boudin balls and crawfish au gratin. Now, the idea of setting my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and doing dozens of burpees and kettle-bell swings feels like a punishment that I would rather avoid.
Changing a habit is hard work. For me, one false start leads to another until it seems like I’ve completely fallen of the wagon, and it would be easier just to give up. But instead of giving up something for Lent this year (after years of half-hearted attempts), I’ve decided to make my health a priority no matter now busy or insane life gets. Life is always going to be crazy, routines will be interrupted, and workloads will wane and wax—but keeping an appointment with yourself to exercise is one of the most important things you can do. If you need a reason to get in shape, March is a good month to do so. Not only is spring break on the horizon—and the time of year to start wearing less clothing and show more skin—March is the National Heart Association’s fitness month. The organization offers an online assessment tool (mylifecheck.heart.org) that can helps determine what areas of your health need improvement. The American Heath Association’s website (www.heart.org) is a valuable resource with grocery-list recommendations, recipes and stress-management tips. The association breaks healthy living down into steps: exercising for 30 minutes a day; eating unprocessed food with low cholesterol and high protein; reducing sugar intake; and quitting smoking. As my parents get older, they seem more intent on keeping their health intact. My dad, who is 53, is competing in regional cycling competitions and has placed high in hi age division. At his age, he can also out-ride most 20-year-olds. My mom, who is 54, is a self-proclaimed Zumba Queen, who can outdance my two sisters and me. My parent’s energy and zero health problems are a testament to a life of conscious eating and exercise. Everyone needs help when it comes to changing habits. Whether it’s finding a supportive group of people to work out with, asking your friends to hold you accountable to your exercise schedule, or even publicly writing a column or blog post about your fitness journey (including its failures) and vowing to do better. Mississippians carry quite the burden when it comes to the health of our state. It’s not a secret that we are the most obese state in the country, but over the last year I have witnessed several individuals and organizations in our state take steps to change our status. If we take small steps to change our habits (ride your bike to Keifer’s—it’s not that far; substitute apples and peanut butter for cake) we will have to take the opportunity to shine a positive light on our state and ensure the future of our health. As for me, as I head back to Crossfit this week, I’ll try to remember that getting back on the horse is the hardest step.
Natalie A. Collier Natalie A. Collier is originally from Starkville and a graduate of Millsaps College. She lived in Chicago for a while, but is now back in Jackson. She’s not easy to impress. Try. She wrote a wellness feature.
Holly Perkins Editorial intern Holly Perkins is originally from the Jackson area. Holly loves the arts—acting, painting, photography, writing and music. She is a freshman at Belhaven University and hopes to travel the world. She wrote a wellness feature.
Dylan Watson Editorial intern Dylan Watson is from Indianola, Miss. He’s currently a sophomore at Millsaps College, where he studies political science and philosophy. He wrote a wellness feature.
ShaWanda Jacome Assistant to the editor ShaWanda Jacome is learning to pray without ceasing, to trust in the Lord completely and to have hope and faith in his timing. She wrote a wellness feature.
Charlotte Blom Charlotte Blom lives in Hattiesburg. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she balances between introversion and extroversion. Her penchant for discovering beautiful, bizarre things sometimes overrides practicality. She wrote an arts piece.
Robin O’Bryant Greenwood resident Robin O’Bryant is a stay-at-home mom, humor columnist and author. Her kids keep her laughing every day, and she documents family adventures on her blog: robinschicks.com. She wrote a food piece.
Bryan Flynn Sports writer Bryan Flynn is a lifelong Mississippi native who resides in Richland. When not writing for the JFP, he writes a national blog, playtowinthegame.com. He lives with his wife and their four cats. He wrote a sports piece.
Randi Ashley Jackson Account executive Ashley Jackson is a Brandon native. She loves volunteering with youth, cooking, doing homework, wearing awesome shoes, and dancing like a fool while playing her extensive vinyl collection.
news, culture & irreverence
SOURCE: KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION STATEHEALTHFACTS.ORG.
Redistricting Fight Comes Home AMILE WILSON
Wednesday, March 2 Rebel forces in Libya request Western intervention by way of U.N. air strikes after Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi destroyed most of the rebel forces air power. … The Mississippi Senate passes a bill to give Jackson State University ownership of the Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Mississippi’s infant mortality rate of 10.6 per thousand live births from 2004 to 2006 is heavily skewed toward African Americans. The rate among whites is on par with the national rate of 6.8 deaths; among blacks, the rate more than doubles, to 15.4 deaths per thousand.
Thursday, March 3 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker threatens thousands of layoffs if Wisconsin Democrats fail to return for a vote to end collective bargaining for state workers. … The city of Jackson begins a two-day amnesty program, waiving warrant and administrative fees for some violations. Friday, March 4 A Rome court sentences the Rev. Ruggero Conti to 15 years and four months for sexually abusing seven minors between 1998 and 2008. … The Mississippi House of Representatives passes its version of the state’s redistricting map. Saturday, March 5 Surgeons at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson perform the first heart surgery of its kind in Mississippi on 8-day-old Cayson Sanderford of Starkville, to treat a rare heart condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where the left side of the heart can’t effectively pump blood. Sunday, March 6 The Obama administration considers using resources from the Strategic Oil Preserve along the Coast to combat rising gas prices due to conflicts in the Middle East. … Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and 10 other Mississippians file a new lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of federal healthcare reform after U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett dismissed an earlier suit.
March 9 - 15, 2011
Monday, March 7 Hinds County Republican Chairman Pete Perry threatens to sue the Hinds County Board of Supervisors over contracting with Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson to oversee the county’s redistricting plan. … In an unprecedented action, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant releases his own plan to redistribute the 52 state Senate districts.
Tuesday, March 8 Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announces that Jackson’s sales-tax collections exceeded expectations so far for the current fiscal year by more than $400,000. (Read breaking news at jfpdaily.com.)
A local Republican official has threatened a lawsuit over NAACP President Derrick Johnson’s contract to draw new district lines for Hinds County.
Taylor Bell is suing for the right to rap. p 13.
inds County’s redistricting woes are not over, yet. One week after the county Board of Supervisors voted to approve new district maps, the board faces a possible lawsuit over its decision to hire Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson to oversee its redistricting process. Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry told supervisors at their March 7 board meeting that he plans
to sue the county if they do not void Johnson’s contract. Perry was in the crowd of more than 100 that packed a Feb. 28 hearing to protest the district maps Johnson drew. He said that he objects to the map that supervisors approved at the end of that hearing and expects to join another lawsuit challenging it soon. His suit over Johnson’s contract
by Ward Schaefer could come as soon as this week. Perry told supervisors that he believed Johnson’s $40,000 contract was improper because the county did not solicit bids for the contract. State law allows counties to forego a bid process for “professional services,” but Perry argued that Johnson’s redistricting work did not qualify for the professional services exemption. Section 19-3-69 of the Mississippi Code allows counties to contract with accountants, engineers, physicians, appraisers, architects and attorneys, among other professions, without soliciting bids. Perry pointed out that Johnson, who has a law degree, could not qualify for the exemption as an attorney because the Mississippi Bar has not licensed him. The Mississippi Bar confirmed that Johnson is not licensed in Mississippi. With his wife, Letitia, who is licensed by the state bar, Johnson operates the consulting firm D.L. Johnson, LLC. His NAACP role is a volunteer position and unpaid. Supervisors voted to contract with D.L. Johnson, LLC, according to minutes from the board’s Dec. 20, 2010, meeting. Still, Perry maintained that having an attorney on staff was not enough to qualify Johnson’s firm for the professional-services exemption. State law also requires boards of supervisors to publish a finding that professional services are necessary in their minutes. Perry said that COUNTY, see page 9
gerrymandered “I continue to oppose the gerrymandered districts within the Pine Belt area that collapses a Republican district only to create one controlled by Democrats,” —Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant in a statement regarding the Senate’s redistricting plan that would create a new majority African American district in Hattiesburg. Bryant is pushing his own map that splits Hattiesburg into three “Republican-friendly” districts.
What are you giving up for the season of Lent? The JFP staff compiled its own, somewhat tongue-in-cheek list.
• Moderation • Looking at baby photos on Facebook • Hope • Census hysteria • Crime hysteria • A crush on Lonnie Edwards • Speculation over Gov. Haley Barbour’s presidential bid • Processed sugar, chips and crackers • Donuts • The word “swag” • Beer without other people present • Wine with animals on the label • Jackson-v.-suburbs battles
news, culture & irreverence
COUNTY, from page 8
Farish In August?
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www.ppsjackson.org by Ward Schaefer and Adam Lynch Farish Street Group secured the B.B. King Blues Club’s participation. “It sounds like you’re telling me that things are getting ready to happen,” Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon told Goree. “Things are getting ready to be seen,” Goree said. “We’ve been working in the background for at least the last 18 months, but now you’re about to be able to see the actual fruits of what we’ve done.” A Silver Sales Tax Lining? The City of Jackson is looking at an increase in sales-tax revenue for the first time since 2009, but the city will have to adjust for budget shortfalls in its police department and in public transportation. “As of February 2011, sales tax collections are 3.32 percent, or $413,174 ahead of budget,” the city stated in a March 2 memorandum. The city also generated $389,897 more in revenue than it did this same time last year. Rick Hill, deputy director of the city’s Administration and Finance Department, said he welcomed the new revenue as a sign that the economy may be improving, but adopted a cautious attitude. “This is just the first quarter. We’ve still got the rest of the year to go,” Hill said. “We could possibly need the surplus before the year is out if revenue drops again.”
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eveloper David Watkins said Monday that he is “100 percent convinced” that the B.B. King Blues Club will sign a lease to anchor the Farish Street Entertainment District. The club is planning for an Aug. 1 opening date. Addressing City Council members at a work session March 7, Watkins said that negotiations with the entertainment chain have been more “dynamic” than other potential Farish Street tenants. “As his requirements and requests have changed, we’ve had to be flexible,” Watkins said. Watkins Development Vice President Jason Goree echoed Watkins’ confidence. Both parties were able to reach agreements on “upfront fees” at a recent meeting, Goree said, adding that two or three additional tenants have signaled their desire to commit to leases once the
Join us. For our city. For our children. For our future.
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Developers say that a key tenant is close to signing a lease for the Farish Street Entertainment District.
state law requires. At Monday’s meeting, Martin asked that she be given time to look into Perry’s allegations, at one point cutting him off to say: “The request is well taken. I would like an opportunity to investigate.” Perry told the JFP that he does not expect Martin’s investigation to turn up anything and that he plans to file a lawsuit later this week. The Belhaven resident is the chairman of the Hinds County Republican Party and owns lobbying firm Paradigm Government Relations. He has been a registered lobbyist in Mississippi; however, Perry said that the county’s redistricting process does not affect any of his current clients. Johnson’s contract has been the subject of criticism for weeks, with critics comparing it to cheaper contracts the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District has entered with other counties. “Let’s assume that we had hired CMPDD,” Hinds Board President George Smith told Perry. “What’s the difference?” Perry replied that he was not asking the board to hire CMPDD instead. “I’m not questioning your ability to award a contract; it’s about how you award the contract,” Perry said. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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the board’s minutes from Dec. 20, when it approved Johnson’s contract, did not mention any finding of necessity. Board attorney Crystal Martin said that she had not justified Johnson’s hiring by referring to his qualifications as an attorney, but she did not offer another justification. Johnson declined to address Perry’s allegations directly but pointed out that, with his help, Hinds County approved its new district lines well before neighboring counties. “Fortunately we were able to do it within the very short time allowed as a result of the late date for the release of the census data and the qualifying deadline for candidates in Hinds County,” Johnson told the Jackson Free Press. Madison County has not finished its redistricting process, County Administrator Brad Sellers said. The county Board of Supervisors hired the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to develop its redistricting maps. Sellers said that the board contracted directly with CMPDD, citing the professional-services exemption. Minutes from the board’s June 21, 2010, meeting, when supervisors approved the CMPDD contract, do not show a finding that professional services were necessary, as Perry alleged
Public schools do more than educate children. They measure a city’s pride. They reflect community. They predict the social and economic well-being of a city’s future. For 20 years, Parents for Public Schools of Jackson has worked to keep our public schools strong, to empower parents as leaders for positive change, and to engage community support of our public schools.
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Bryant Complicates Redistricting
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body didn’t like it, and they prevailed upon (Bryant) to put the brakes on it,” Baria said. “This will bog down everything, even budgeting, and everything will come to a standstill.” Bryant did not immediately return calls. The U.S. Census Bureau recorded population changes for 2010 that force lawmakers to expand or shrink some state House COURTESY HOUSE LEGISLATIVE REAPPORTIONMENT COMMITTEE
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he state redistricting process will likely see fireworks in the coming days. On Tuesday, the Mississippi Senate Elections Committee killed a redistricting map approved the House of Representatives. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” said Marty Wiseman, director of Mississippi State University’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government. “I was just telling someone that there are likely to be bullets flying from one side to the other over this.” Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, who has served District 7 since 1984, said he had never witnessed a Senate committee kill a re-apportionment plan the House submitted. “This is unprecedented,” Bryan told the Jackson Free Press. He added, however, that a majority of the Senate wants the process to move as smoothly as possible to ensure timely elections this year. “The Legislature is still in session, and there are a number of us dedicated to having the four-year elections (on time), and we’re still working with that.” The Senate Elections Committee also ignored a map the Senate Redistricting Committee submitted that would have created a majority-black Senate District 41 in Hattiesburg. The Senate Redistricting Committee map created District 41 with a majority-black voting population of 59.06 percent, up from 38.21 percent. The committee instead favored a redistricting plan submitted by Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, which does not alter District 41, said Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood. “The plan (Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman) Sen. Terry Burton came up with was a workable plan, but some Republicans were worried that African Americans would get a new (majority) district in the Hattiesburg area,” Jordan said. Sen. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, said Bryant is holding up the entire legislative session. “The story about this is that a Republican-appointed (Senate Redistricting Committee) chairman worked very hard for a year to get information to draw fair maps, but some-
The Mississippi House of Representatives’ redistricting map is on hold in the Senate.
and Senate districts to ensure that all districts contain similar populations. The population deviation can be no more than 10 percent between districts. To accomplish this after population shifts, some districts must expand their territory or surrender territory to other districts to maintain an even population distribution for elections. The House plan is a boon to incumbents, even though some districts may end up moving into entirely different parts of the state. West Democratic Rep. Mary Ann Stevens’ District 48 is one of the new districts moving north to Desoto County, meaning her current Holmes County district has essentially disappeared. The same fate faces Rep. Jim Ellington, R-Raymond, whose District 73 currently includes a few communities in Hinds County. House leaders propose shifting Ellington’s
precinct to south Mississippi, to an area near Walthall County. District 63, which contains the black semi-rural populations of Edwards and Bolton. Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, said House leaders had shown him the shape of his district and that he was happy with its new shape. Snowden’s District 83. It still occupies the somewhat urban area surrounding the city of Meridian, but the black voting-age population of his district (18 and older) drops dramatically from 40.92 percent of the population to only 17.07 of the population in the new map—virtually assuring the Republican’s re-election if he manages to survive a Republican opponent in the primaries. (Prospective legislators have until June 1 to qualify to run for election.) Critics of the process say they worry that the new maps may create black or white super-majorities. “If what we end up with is supermajority white districts and supermajority black districts, then the state of Mississippi loses,” said Jackson attorney Dorsey Carson, who has represented the Jackson Municipal Democratic Executive Committee in court battles and is running for the District 64 House seat. Wiseman said black legislators may ultimately be hurting their voters by pressing for districts with 60 percent or more black voting populations and packing black influence into one district. “There are plenty of studies done over time saying you’ve got to get as close to 60 percent in a black majority district to reasonably assure that a black politician will get elected because of low voter turn-out in the community,” Wiseman said. “There are better ways to drum up support, like the old-fashioned way of going door-to-door.” Arguments regarding packing districts with supermajorities sit on the wayside, however, as House leaders mull the prospect of shooting down the Senate redistricting plan in retaliation to the Senate Elections Committee’s Tuesday failure to pass the House plan. “I can’t speak for them, but I would be mad as hell,” Jordan said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they did.”
by Adam Lynch
Public Service Commissioners remain divided on a costly new coal-burning power plant in Kemper County, even after a judge supported their decision to allow the plant.
ississippi Power Company customers may be paying for up to $2.88 billion in costs for the new experimental coal-burning power plant, based on a Harrison County Chancery Court judge’s decision. Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said he still regrets a PSC decision allowing the plant, despite the judge’s ruling, which favored his own commission’s controversial decision. “That decision the PSC made, I think, is going to force some businesses to close down when rates go up as much as they will,” Presley said, adding that, “$2.8 billion is the most ever approved for one facility, and businesses and ratepayers are going to feel it.” Last year, the Sierra Club appealed a May 26 PSC decision granting a certificate of public convenience allowing Mississippi Power Company to build its coal-burning plant in Kemper County and to charge ratepayers for the costs to build the plant. That decision saw two members of the three-member commission reversing an earlier order to cap the maximum costs MPCO could charge its ratepayers at $2.4 billion. Soon after the PSC’s first decision, however, Mississippi Power Company issued a statement that it would not build the plant because it needed
to be able to charge ratepayers for at least $2.88 billion in order to keep its credit rating in good standing. Weeks later, the commission adjusted its decision to allow the new higher cost, allowing Mississippi Power to break ground on plant construction late last year. The Sierra Club sued the PSC in Harrison County Chancery Court, however, arguing that the judge should vacate the PSC’s May 2010 decision and remand it back to the commission. The Sierra Club claims the PSC was “arbitrary and capricious” to approve the higher cost cap “without citing any new evidence or findings” to their earlier, more restrictive April 2010 decision. The Sierra Club also argued that the PSC failed to conclude that the public would benefit from the new power plant and that the commission did not thoroughly account for falling natural-gas prices and the increasing cost of offsetting carbon. The environmental group says the commission should not have allowed the company to begin charging customers for the cost of the plant “without having the factual evidence before it that the commission claimed in its April order was necessary for a decision.” Mississippi Power would not allow the commission to make public estimated rate increases, which could amount to about
40 percent higher bills for ratepayers, if compared to the cost for constructing the similarly expensive Grand Gulf nuclear power plant, in Port Gibson. Entergy Mississippi customers financed its construction with rate increases averaging between 30 and 50 percent. Judge Jim Persons, siding with a majority of the commission last month, wrote in his decision that his court “does not sit as a fourth commissioner, but as an appellate court with a limited standard of review.” Persons opined that the commission knew what it was doing in reversing itself after days of holding hearings on the need for the new plant: “The commission spent a great deal of time and effort in reaching a decision in this case,” he wrote. Presley, however, never agreed to either of the PSC decisions allowing the power company to charge ratepayers, arguing that the company should instead put the costs on its stockholders, who stand to benefit from the increased revenue generated by the plant. “[T]hey’re building this facility not with their own money, but with rate-payers’ money, and that’s why I voted against it,” Presley said. In the exchange between Sierra Club attorney Robert Wiygul and state and commission attorneys, the judge expressed doubt regarding the increase. “Even if the 45 percent (rate) increase is reasonable under (Mississippi law), considering need and cost, what if they can’t afford it?” WLOX news station 13 reported Persons saying last month. “We’re appealing this decision up to Mississippi Supreme Court,” said Mississippi Sierra Club Director Louie Miller. “The paperwork is already together. We do not believe that the PSC’s second decision last year was based upon findings of fact.” Mississippi Power spokesman Verdell Hawkins said in a statement that the company is moving forward. “We are pleased the recent ruling validates the decision of the Public Service Commission that the Kemper Project IGCC is the best alternative for meeting the projected energy needs of our state and the customers of Mississippi Power,” Hawkins stated. “ Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Commissioner Opposes Plant, Despite Ruling
Legislature: Week 9
by Adam Lynch
Transparency and Head Trips
Attorney General Jim Hood praised a bill imposing stiff fines for selling some versions of bath salts.
March 9 - 15, 2011
More Oversight Pending State agencies will have to put their spending and contracts on a website for public scrutiny if the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate work out their differences with a popular government accountability bill. Senate Bill 2554, the Mississippi Accountability and Transparency Act, survived a Senate floor vote last month, and also got past the House March 2, after some minor tweaking. The original bill charges the state Department of Finance and Administration to develop and operate a website containing information on all state-agency expenditures. The House amendment, however, allows the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to create its own IHL Accountability and Transparency website for its financial reports, audits, budgets and other financial documents. The amendment means that legislators will have to negotiate the bill in conference. Both chambers widely approved the bill, co-authored by Sens. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, and Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport. House votes against the bill came from Republican Reps. John Moore, of Brandon; Gary Chism, of Columbus; and Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune. Formby did not immediately return calls.
Barbour Vetoes College Funding Funding for the state’s community and junior colleges will have to wait for the Legislature’s budget battle later in the session, as the Mississippi Senate let stand a Gov. Haley Barbour veto last week. Senate Bill 3042, which passed the state Senate and House of Representatives last month, allotted $226 million to the state’s community colleges, but Barbour shot down the bill, arguing that legislators were moving too
fast on higher-education appropriations. “Signing this bill would be a premature action in light of the ongoing negotiations continuing among my office, the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate. After all, there is not even agreement on the amount of revenue available for fiscal year 2012—much less an agreement on the amount of funding that state agencies should receive,” Barbour said in his Feb. 3 veto message. “I believe it would be foolish budgeting policy to sign an appropriations bill tying the hands of budget negotiators during this difficult and important process.” Barbour added that his veto does not mean he will not support “additional monies” for the colleges, if legislators presented him with a budget that protected an unspecified amount of money in the state’s budget reserves. The lack of a veto-override attempt in the Senate followed unanimous support from senators in their Feb. 17 vote and a successful Feb. 24 vote with only three votes against the bill’s passage. Senate leaders, however, decided to send the bill back to the Appropriations Committee, accepting the governor’s veto without a fight. A New Drug on the Out List Cathinone derivatives, so-called “bath salts,” are going on the state’s watch list of controlled substances. Attorney General Jim Hood praised the Legislature for passing House Bill 1205, which restricts the sale of the drugs. The bill unanimously passed the Mississippi Senate last week and is heading to Barbour for his signature. “These cathinone derivatives are dangerous chemicals that have been cleverly marketed as bath salts,” Hood said in a statement. “They are known for producing a cocaine-like high that can last 10 times longer than cocaine.” Hood added that the bill, the Dewayne Crenshaw Act, is named after a Tippah County deputy sheriff who died last year from a gunshot wound delivered by a suspect that Hood believes had digested the targeted bath salts. The bill puts cathinone derivatives in the “Schedule I” category for controlled substances, along with other drugs such as heroin and LSD, and restricts the sale, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribution, dispensing or possession with intent to sell of the substance. The bill delivers up to 30 years’ imprisonment or a fine of no less than $5,000, or both, as punishment for the offense of carrying between 30 grams and one kilogram of a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II. First time offenders with between 30 grams and a kilogram risk up to 20 years imprisonment, a $30,000 fine, or both, upon conviction. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Ward Schaefer
period, but especially not to students.” The next day, Bell said, he had scheduled studio time. In 20 minutes, he wrote three verses about the allegations and recorded them. On Jan. 3, he posted the song on his Facebook page. He says he never asked other students to listen to the song, never accessed it from school and used no school equipment to record it. Administrators at IAHS got word of the song anyway, and on Jan. 7, they pulled Bell out of class to question him about lyrics that they considered threatening. They honed in on one section, in which Bell rapped, “Looking down girls’ shirts / drool running down your mouth / messing with the wrong one / going to get a pistol down your mouth.” Bell says the lyrics were meant to warn the coaches that their alleged behavior could incite a reprisal from the girls’ relatives. “What I was saying was, ‘You keep messing with the wrong person’s child, you never know who’s going to come after you,’” Bell said. “I didn’t say that I, personally, was going to do that; I don’t have any reason to. I’ve never harmed anybody. I don’t shoot people.” Nevertheless, school officials suspended Bell until a disciplinary hearing. At the Jan. 26 hearing, school-board members decided that “the issue of whether or not lyrics pub-
Taylor Bell is suing his high school over free-speech violations a year after another controversy at the school drew attention.
lished by Taylor Bell constituted threats to school district teachers was vague,” according to a letter from School Board Attorney Michele Floyd to Bell’s mother, Dora Bell. “[H]owever, they determined that the publication of those lyrics did constitute harassment and intimidation of two school district teachers, which is a violation of School Board Policy and state law.” Bell gave Floyd two written letters from students confirming the allegations that he mentioned, but the board did not discuss them further. The board then voted to suspend Bell for the remainder of the nine-week quarter. The Itawamba senior has spent two
weeks at the county’s alternative school, which he says is inadequate compared to IAHS. On Feb. 24, Bell filed a lawsuit against the school district, Superintendent Teresa McNeece and IAHS Principal Trae Wiygul, alleging violations of his constitutional right to free speech. The suit asks for Bell’s reinstatement at IAHS, expungement of his record and $1. “It’s more a question of principle for him than it is the consequences,” Bell’s attorney, Wil Colom, said. McNeece did not return a call for comment, and Floyd declined to comment, citing district policy. “We do not discuss pending litigation, especially when it’s involving a student,” Floyd said. In a March 2 filing, Colom argued that there is little precedent allowing schools to restrict students’ threatening speech. “While the government can proscribe a true threat of violence without offending the First Amendment, it may only do so when the threat is intentional, direct and serious,” Colom wrote. “Taylor never took actions to ensure the song was heard by the coaches, and a song with hyperbolic and symbolic lyrics cannot be viewed as serious when the student did not convey the threats to anyone with a relationship to the alleged victims.” Comment at www.jfp.ms
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
t’s the ever-present debate of the office lunch: Some want Chinese. Some want seafood. Some want pizza. There’s always one in the crowd yearning for sushi. How to satisfy everyone and be in and out in an hour? Head to King Buffet, located at 6380 Ridgewood Court Drive in Jackson, and, with over 250 items on the buffet, where even the most finicky eater will be satisfied. Nancy Wong From shrimp, mussels, blue crab and other fresh fish served daily, King Buffet offers a gorgeous seafood spread to rival any seafood specialty house. If classic Chinese is your food of choice, then you will love the Peking Duck and Chicken along with other traditional fare such as Coconut Shrimp, Orange and Sesame Chicken, Beef with Broccoli and Hunan Pork just to name a few. If a little sushi on the side is what you’re craving check out the marvelous display of color and taste offered at both lunch and dinner. With seaweed salad and plenty of wasabi, your inner samurai is sure to be pleased. If you need a banquet facility, look no further than King Buffet, with a calming ambience and attentive staff, they can handle most any private or business function. If you need your food to-go, catering is also available. When you come to King Buffet make sure you leave room for dessert. In addition to the amazing food spread, the dessert buffet is one to behold. Is Chinese cake on your bucket list? Well, King Buffet has it and much more, including ice cream, puddings, cookies, and other mouth-watering desserts to choose from. Watching your weight? You can still eat to your healthy heart’s content at a Chinese buffet. King Buffet offers fresh fruits, a salad bar, and steamed items that won’t wreck your diet.
If convenience and cost are important factors in your dining choices, King Buffet meets them both. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. With close proximity to County Line Road and convenient hours, and prices starting at just $5.99 for lunch and $7.99 for dinner, both your watch and wallet will leave happy.
year ago, the Itawamba County School District made national news for electing to cancel Itawamba Agricultural High School’s prom rather than allow lesbian student Constance McMillen to bring her girlfriend as her date. A federal judge ultimately ruled that the district had violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights. Now, the district faces another lawsuit alleging that it denied a student’s constitutional rights. Taylor Bell is an 18-year-old senior at the same school that Constance McMillen attended. Until Jan. 7, his only serious disciplinary problem had been a one-day, in-school suspension for being tardy to class. After graduation, Bell plans to attend Itawamba Community College. He’s also an aspiring rap musician who has been writing, performing and recording songs since he was 13, using the stage name “T-Bizzle.” Around Christmas of last year, Bell heard some female students at IAHS allege that two male coaches at the school were flirting and touching them inappropriately. “Girls were saying, ‘The coach is looking down my shirt,’ or, ‘He’s saying that my butt is big,’ ” Bell said. “One girl, a gay girl, (said that one coach) was like, ‘If you wasn’t so gay, I would turn you out.’ Stuff like that you just don’t say to students—really, individuals
COURTESY TAYLOR BELL
Freedom to Rap
opining, grousing & pontificating
Reject the Partisan Posturing
olitics are getting uglier by the day. Current battles over redistricting—which can have extremely farreaching effects on the lives of everyday Mississippians—are partisan, divisive and frustrating to watch, as one party or another jockeys to rework and control districts. The process is one of the most blatantly partisan power games we’ve seen since the last time the U.S. Chamber funded its latest slate of judges to try to protect corporations from lawsuits. Currently, partisan fingers are pointed at the “other side” because the political enemy—wait for it—is trying to influence how the districts are redrawn. That part is predictable, if sad. But the political gamesmanship going on right here in Hinds County just shows how ridiculous the whole scheme has become. For one thing, Hinds County hired NAACP President Derrick Johnson to oversee its redistricting process. In Madison County, the board hired the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to develop its redistricting maps. Neither contract went out for bid under rules that allow professional-service exemptions. Then, this week, here comes the Hinds County Republican Party chairman, Pete Perry, promising a lawsuit over Johnson’s contract. Johnson’s not an attorney, Perry says, even though Johnson’s LLC has an attorney on staff (his wife). Meantime, when a JFP reporter asked Perry who he represents at the county meeting, Perry didn’t mention the little issue of being the chairman of the county GOP (as if we wouldn’t know and print that part). He did mention that he’s a lobbyist, and assured that redistricting wouldn’t help any current clients. Folks, who are we kidding here? The county asked for a Republican outcry when it gave Johnson the gig: Republicans still use any connection with the NAACP as a way to scare white voters, and it wasn’t a very subtle way for the county to try to guarantee an outcome beneficial to Democrats. On the other hand, the fact that Perry himself is showing up to make a stink about the NAACP president being involved is equally as absurd and just as nakedly partisan. Obviously, he has a dog in the hunt. Look at the website for his lobbying company, Paradigm Government Relations. He and his partner, Michael Goode, are Republican royalty. And even though the “Who We Represent” page is oddly blank at the moment, the two men’s bios show that they are Republican superstars and have been involved on many Republican campaigns and administrations; watch for names like Lott, Bush, Wicker and such. Obviously, Hinds County redistricting is going to have an effect on potential clients of Perry’s, if no one currently. We’re not idiots out here. We want to play Pollyanna and call for all the insulting partisanship to stop, and for everyone to admit their biases and play fair. We know how unlikely any change in the current racially and politically charged climate is, but we can always hope and pray for higher political ground.
The Greatest Thing
March 9 - 15, 2011
iss Doodle Mae: “Jojo asked me to conduct this emergency staff meeting in response to the state union workers’ protest in Wisconsin. I’m here to tell you all that Jojo is on your side like Nationwide Insurance. And, speaking of insurance, as long as Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store thrives, Jojo will not force workers to contribute more of their wages into health insurance. “He understands the law of cause and effect: If you make workers give up their pension, accept lower wages and settle for the life their great-grandparents had, they will go on strike and affect the profits of the business. “Jojo wants his loyal staff to know that he will not economically exploit his workers like land owners did to sharecroppers during Reconstruction. As a shrewd and progressive entrepreneur, he strives to develop a workplace where employees can work without fear, intimidation and stress. He wants to create an atmosphere of coexistence among his workers, and Jojo believes happy employees are productive. “Jojo wants the staff to remember these words from a song titled ‘Nature Boy,’ sung by the late Nat King Cole: ‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. “I guess Jojo’s wish is that corporate CEOs and the elite would apply this poignant verse to the way they deal with their workers. “Oh well, we’ve got a community to serve and plenty of work to do at Jojo’s 14 Discount Dollar Store.”
YOUR TURN by Byron Wilkes
Men: Start Now, Not Never
few weeks ago, I went to visit my dad, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. It’s a cancer that most men “die with, not from,” but to have a doctor tell you that you have cancer must surely be a jarring experience. I didn’t realize how seriously my father, an octogenarian, was taking the disease until after our visit, when he gave me a hug. Now, I know I’m not the only man in the South whose dad isn’t big on hugging. The hug is rare for many southern men, one reserved for weddings, graduations and other big once-in-a-lifetime events. I realized when my father hugged me that he wasn’t going to be around forever. I knew this before, of course, but somehow it struck home closer with the hug. When I think of what I’ve willingly put my own body through and how neglectful I’ve been, I shudder to think of anyone else doing the same. I’m not saying that every man in the state of Mississippi is an unhealthy person on the brink of a heart attack, but at least in my case, I’ve never seen to my own health as much as my doctors have advised. And I think I’m not the only man who can say that. It seems like a lot of men believe they’re invincible, or at least less predisposed to the illnesses and diseases that affect male friends or family members. I’ve seen this phenomenon play out more than once. The Centers for Disease Control says that more than 31 percent of the population is obese in Mississippi, and nearly 70 percent of adults are overweight. How many of those are men? Of course, plenty of women in Mississippi don’t take care of their health as they should, either, but that doesn’t excuse men for not taking care of themselves. So what are the options? Your doctor will prob-
ably tell you exercise and diet are the best places to begin. I’m not really that big on exercise. I pretty much hate it, in fact. But that doesn’t mean I don’t exercise. I have a job where I spend most of the day sitting—in my driver’s seat, at my desk. Realizing this, I decided I would go cycling at least three days a week last summer. Before you think “Lance Armstrong,” let me assure you my typical outing on a bicycle is not 50 miles and several hours. Instead I spend 30 minutes to an hour riding around the city and the area around it. One of the biggest misconceptions about adding exercise into one’s life is that it has to happen every day, and it has to be excruciating. What’s more important is that you begin to get a little active so that your body can acclimate to an active lifestyle. Men also must talk with other men. I’m sure I’m not the only person in Mississippi who knows a man who has intentionally avoided taking care of himself. Letting someone know you care about his health might just spark a life change. Too many men poor health decisions like smoking, overeating, abusing drugs (prescription or otherwise) and avoiding seeing a doctor regularly. Once you get to a certain age, men, it will be too late to quit smoking, start exercising or stop overeating. It’s important not simply to acknowledge this biological fact of life, but to act on it, and start taking care of yourself now: If not for you, then for the people close to you. Freelance writer Byron Wilkes enjoys swashbuckling his way through the Mississippi countryside. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 and currently works part-time at The Meridian Star. He worked as a JFP intern, previously.
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Immigrants vs. Profit
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here is a story that U.S. citizens often hear about undocumented Latino workers. It is fiction. If you followed WJTVâ€™s report of recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, discussed during the Feb. 21 Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance press conference and civic engagement day (â€œICE Arrests 58 Criminal Aliens and Fugitivesâ€?), you might not have come away with a very positive impression of these immigrant families. The catchy new phrase â€œcriminal aliens and fugitivesâ€? seems to have replaced â€œillegal aliensâ€? as border-watchersâ€™ pejorative-ofchoice for undocumented Latino immigrants and their families. It helps the station contribute to the ethnic bigotry and hatred that, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, made 2010 the most prosperous year for hate groups in U.S. history. Children, some of them now deprived of a parent, sat patiently throughout the conference. Occasionally, a baby cried. Elderly Latino women and men, many of whom made the three-block walk from the MIRA office to the Capitol and back, watched the press conference with more of a personal sense of history than most, no doubt wondering what kind of country their children and grandchildren would grow up in. WJTV wasnâ€™t interested in any of these people or their stories; that would have humanized the victims of the ICE raids. Details are still emerging about the raids, but three factors kept recurring in witnessesâ€™ stories: blatant ethnic profiling, casual violence and laughter on the part of the agents. That mirrors the laughter of some legislators. After the press conference, I watched Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, one of SB 2179â€™s most vocal supporters, smile and cheerfully repeat talking points at the state Capitol as he explained to grieving families why he supported the bill, which would mandate ethnic profiling on a statewide level. What was clear to me was that he had absolutely no emotional investment in Latinos as human beings. We can assume that what made these 57 men and one woman â€œcriminals,â€? in nearly all cases, was their immigration status; if it wasnâ€™t, local law enforcement or the FBI would have arrested them. When ICE comes knocking, the issue is immigration paperwork. Immigration violations donâ€™t usually get the attention of United States authorities, and for good reason: U.S. corporations and landowners have long had a need for uncompensated or sub-minimum-wage labor. In the 16th century, it was American Indian slaves. In the 17th through 19th centuries, it was African American slaves. In the mid- to late-19th century, it was Chinese American railroad workers. And since 1910, it has primarily been undocumented or conditionally documented Latinos. Corporations that hire undocumented
Latinos tend to donate to politicians who want to deport undocumented Latinos. If youâ€™re wondering why, consider the fact that only a small percentage of undocumented Latinos are actually deportedâ€”but that these sensational cases are enough to frighten Latino workers into not organizing or reporting labor-code violations. In other words, the U.S. governmentâ€”by selectively enforcing immigration policies against immigrant workers, but refusing to prosecute employersâ€”helps corporations work their undocumented laborers as inexpensively as possible. Both major political parties are complicit in this arrangement. Meanwhile, immigrants have, more often than not, left countries decimated by clever but heartless U.S. foreign policy and trade decisions. They face profound poverty, for themselves and their families, if they return. They are also well aware of the fact that the U.S. government has never really tried to prevent undocumented labor, and that they have a well-established role in the U.S. economy. If the U.S. government were serious about ending the exploitation of undocumented workers, it would allow these workers to unionize without fear, enforce labor-code violations against employers who overwork or underpay undocumented immigrants, and end deportations altogether because of the obstructionary role it plays with respect to these first two goals. But the U.S. government is not serious about ending the system of undocumented labor; it is serious about profit, and the best way to maximize profits is to use ICE raids as a form of state-sponsored terrorism against Latino immigrant communities. It works; I saw a lot of terrified people. But they werenâ€™t too terrified to march to the Capitol and give voice to their friends, their families, and their communitiesâ€”and to that extent, the raids were a failure. I donâ€™t know if the voices of Latinos and allies will be enough to defeat SB 2179â€”but after two highly successful immigrant civic-engagement days at the Capitol, no legislator can plead ignorance. Legislators who support this bill do so not because they donâ€™t know any better but because they think voters donâ€™t. If you want to prove theyâ€™ve underestimated you, call your local legislator and support the work of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (www.yourmira.org). Your voiceâ€”no matter who you areâ€” may be the one that finally persuades a key legislator to stop pandering to bigots and do the right thing. Freelance writer Tom Head is a lifelong Jackson native. He has authored or co-authored 24 nonfiction books on a wide range of topics, and is a civil liberties writer for About.com and a grassroots progressive activist.
CLARIFICATON: In â€œTest Your Knowledgeâ€? (Vol. 9, Issue 25), we stated that there hasnâ€™t been a black statewide official in Mississippi since Reconstruction. We should have said there has been a black â€œelectedâ€? statewide official.
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Editor in Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer
by Natalie A. Collier
%PPS%JF V Where Mason has decided to do this work is ironic and fitting. She lives in Arcola in the Mississippi Delta. Statistics about healthâ€”including infant-mortality rates, access to medical supplies, instances of diabetes
Vicki Mason has dedicated herself to a new lifeâ€™s mission: educating people about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
the area been on par with the mortality rate in the rest of the country, including other parts of Mississippi. So about a year ago, Mason, now 37, started a fitness company called Well and Aware. She started off small, doing workshops at day cares and community centers. By the time the Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative awarded her a grant, she took her workshops and seminars to the public at large, from Greenville to Indianola and Hollandale, teaching Deltans how to improve their lives. Most people need some education, but Mason says itâ€™s important for her to focus a lot of her attention on young people. â€œKids influence our food choices. Some people are resistant,â€? she says. But if children develop a taste bud for eating berries, Mason believes, they will see making healthy eating choices as natural instead of something forced on them.
and hypertensionâ€”are depressing for Mississippi in and of themselves. The Mississippi Deltaâ€™s statistics are even more frightening. The Delta had approximately 18,000 excess deaths (infants and adults) in 2004, wrote Arthur G. Cosby and Diana M. Bowser in the Journal of Health and Human Services Administration in 2008. Those are deaths that otherwise would not have occurred had
Steps Toward Change Healthy living incorporates two main parts: The first is preventive, and the other is restorative. In the summer of 2010, Dr. Aaron Shirley, founder and director of the Jackson Medical Mall and a Mississippi medical pioneer, spent time doing hands-on research about what he could do to improve the lives of Delta citizens. Shirley went to a place that
icki Mason is starting this morning, as she and most health-cognizant people do, with breakfast. â€œThis morning, Iâ€™m in the mood for squash,â€? she says. Squash? Yes, squash. â€œSo Iâ€™ll have roasted butternut squash and eggs. â€Ś I donâ€™t do meat at all for breakfast.â€? Eggs, of course, have protein. And a serving of squash has about 80 caloriesâ€”two of which come from fatâ€”and is a good source of vitamin E, A, C, potassium and magnesium. Who knew? Mason did. She says half the battle on the road to a healthy lifestyle is acquiring knowledge by using the resources that are widely available to all of us. Sheâ€™s serious about that, too. Two of Masonâ€™s dearest friends passed away within six months of each other about two years ago. They both had heart attacks. She was 35; they were, at the time, 34 and 36. She decided she had to do something. â€œYou remember? Back in the day, it was old folks that had heart attacks and strokes. Not your friends, not your momâ€™s friends. It was your grandparents and their friends,â€? she says. But it was her friends who passed away, and she took on a personal challenge: Help other people not go through what sheâ€™d suffered with the loss of her friends. â€œTo help me heal from their deaths, I need to help other people. I canâ€™t have their deaths be in vain.â€?
Do You Know Healthy? Take this five-question fitness quiz to find out what you know and where you need to
may seem unlikely: Iran. Up until the 1980s, Iran and the Delta looked a lot alike in their impoverished states. Things in Iran got better; things in Mississippi didnâ€™t. Health-care professionals in Iran developed community person-run health houses. The individuals running the houses are not medical professionals, but rather community health workersâ€”trained personnel who conduct home visits, screenings and health risk assessments, among other things. The Medical Mall is collaborating with Jackson State University, Iranâ€™s Shiraz University of Medical Sciences and the Oxford International Development Group. Dr. Shirley, who has done work in the Delta for nearly four decades, plans to institute a Health House Network Structure in the area. The structure includes three levels: Level 1 is the health houses; level 2 uses primarycare clinics or existing medical practices run by physicians and nurse practitioners; and level 3, a community hospital. If the model works in the rural areas of the Delta, Shirley may transfer it to Jacksonâ€™s urban setting. â€œWhy not try this?â€? Shirley asked the Associated Press June of 2010 when they talked to him about going all the way to Iran to find a program to model. As citizens look to improve their health, they can do many things on their own, of
March 9 - 15, 2011
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Answers: 1. Câ€”The best approach to any diet is a balance between carbs, proteins and fats; this offers stable energy levels and greater health benefits; 2. Dâ€”strength training uses more calories and causes a larger metabolism increase, depletes muscle glycogen, and helps build and maintain muscle tissueâ€”the key to a fast metabolismâ€”more than
just cardio exercise alone; 3. Dâ€”to see a noticeable difference in muscle strength, tone and definition, do progressive resistance training; pilates and yoga are wonderful additions to a strength-training regimen but do not replace one; 4. Dâ€”the sugars in soda, juice and desserts cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which results in your bodyâ€™s storing excess fat; 5. Falseâ€”the body burns fuel 24 hours per day, but itâ€™s wisest to give it the right types of food in healthy portion sizes to ensure it doesnâ€™t stick to you. Eat at least two to three hours before going to bed to give your body time to digest the food, and when you get the midnight munchies, opt for foods with proteins and healthy fats as opposed to carbs, which take the body longer to process.
Check Your Heart Health se the American Health Association’s health assessment tool, My Life Check (mylifecheck.heart.org). It only takes a few minutes to complete the online questionnaire. When you’re done, you’ll not only know how healthy (or unhealthy) your heart is, but what you need to do to get the old ticker in tip-top condition. You can also find other useful sources at heart.org/nutrition.
Food as Energy But an occasional failure is not an excuse for never trying. In fact, March is an ideal month to incorporate small lifestyle changes. The American Heart Association has deemed it Nutrition Month. Keys to a heart-healthy life, which make for a healthier life in general, are exercising, getting an appropriate amount of rest, reducing stress and eating nutrientsaturated, not nutrient-deficient food. The healthiest food is unprocessed food, and removing processed foods from your diet is probably one of the most difficult things for many people. Despite the difficulty in giving up or significantly reducing the amount of processed foods one eats, it’s a significant step in positively affecting health. “It’s not made with our health in mind. It’s just a quick fix with serious long-term affects on our health” Masons says of fiber- and vitamin-deficient processed foods. “Food is an energy source. Processed foods have a long shelf life; they’re concentrated in calories, and they zap your energy.” To find the healthiest foods while shopping your local grocery store, stay clear of the center aisles. Almost all the fresh foods—from fruits and vegetables to meats and cheeses— are found on the store’s perimeter. Beyond making the decision to eat fresh, unprocessed foods, the next, equally important step to making a change is to get support from people and other resources. Nurturing families and communities are important, and a lot of celebrations revolve around food. Instead of bringing in buckets of fried chicken and over-processed sides, as is typical among southerners, Mason suggests starting the celebration off by cooking together and making a connection over homemade food. The American Heart Association even has a cookbook chock full of
heart-healthy recipes, many of which you can find on its website (www.heart.org).
It’s a Process As you take steps toward a healthier lifestyle, a boost in confidence is inevitable. If you have a willingness to make a change, Mason says, you’ll get it done. “It’s so important to keep a track record (of your progress). When you start to see the changes, feel more energized, see the scale, you’re not going to want to go back,” she says. But again, she warns those who may fall off the proverbial bandwagon that all is not lost after a health relapse. “If you’ve been out of shape for two years, it will take 12 weeks to get your body back. The body has a memory. That’s what’s amazing about our bodies,” she says. Making the decision to change be more healthy doesn’t have to be a scary one. It’s a process that takes a little effort and will, ultimately, yield big results. And starting now, without being prompted by a physician or health-care professional, will make a great difference for most people. Create your own sense of urgency. “It’s food that got us into this situation, and it’s going to be food that’s going to get us out of the situation,” Mason says. “It’s not a pill that’s a remedy. That’s just to get you through the pain. What’s going to heal you is healthy and trying to be active. Whatever your level is right now, start there. We cannot afford to continue doing what we’ve been doing. … We’ve got to get back into the kitchen, raise our awareness and use our resources, libraries and smart phones.” Do or die time is literally in our face. Contact Vicki Mason at thewellnesslady@ wellandaware.org. And to learn more about the Mississippi Health House Network, visit hchaweb.com.
Cook Up a Storm “The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 8th Edition” (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2010, $35) offers a cornucopia of tasty, heart-healthy recipes. Try the artichoke-tomato pizza or chocolate crème brûlée. And while you may not choose to eat it for breakfast, there’s probably a recipe or two that offers creative ways to fancy up butternut squash. You’ll also get information on grocery shopping strategies, healthy cooking methods and much more. Try one recipe or test them all. One thing is for sure: Your heart will be healthier and waistline smaller for it.
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course. Like, perhaps, attending one of Vicki Mason’s boot camps … or maybe start something not quite as intense. “The first step toward change,” Mason says, “is to start. Make a plan. Make a small goal. Say, ‘I’m going to go for a three-minute walk at lunch; I’m going to skip my breakfast meat, and see how it goes. I’m going to cut my juice with a little water. “Don’t sign up for a marathon. Don’t get in over your head. I’m not talking about a gym membership or a major commitment that you might beat yourself up about down the road,” she says. Then Mason adds even a little more cushion: “Accept that failure is a part of the process. You learn through your mistakes.” The fitness guru, who has a degree in chemistry and worked for a couple years after graduating as a chemist, says: “I have a couple patents. Three of those are based on a mistake. Falling on your face may turn out to be a blessing.”
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Caesarean aftercare can include waiting two weeks to drive, no heavy lifting for two to eight weeks, use of narcotic pain relievers and waiting about six weeks to return to work, versus about two with a vaginal delivery, according to a podcast interview with Dr. James Holt Crews of The Womenâ€˜s Clinic. Experts also cite potential harm to infants delivered via Cesarean, a few of which are latepreterm complications, like problems with respiration and digestion, and development of FILE PHOTO
hen I was 15, a doctor suggested I get pregnant. He was a new doctor to me, the second I had seen in my attempt to find a physician after moving to a new city. The white-haired man looked straight at my mother and me from across his desk and asked how comfortable we would be with that. That was five years after I had been diagnosed with stage four (of four) endometriosis, and he was suggesting I conceive so I could have a hysterectomyâ€”the second most commonly performed womenâ€™s surgeryâ€”as soon as possible. Every day, womenâ€™s lives are saved and improved thanks to the work of surgeons. They rid patients of cancerous tumors and right malfunctioning body parts; they stitch up wounds and oftentimes they deliver babies in distress. Surgery can seem like an obvious choice to better your health, but it may not be your best choice. The two most common surgeries doctors perform on women in the United States are Caesarean sections to deliver babies, followed by hysterectomies to remove reproductive organs. Both surgeries have saved countless lives and are essential for many women, but they also come with risks. A Caesarean gets its name from the belief that Julius Caesar was delivered in the same manner. The surgery consists of an incision through the uterus and abdominal wall through which the baby is delivered. Starting in 1996, Caesarean rates have risen in all 50 states and among women of all ethnicities. Overall, the rate has increased by 56 percent, from a low of 20.7 percent of all births in 1996 to 32.3 percent in 2008. Mississippi had the third highest rate of Caesarean births in the country in 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, with 36.2 percent of Cesarean section births. A few reasons for a Caesarean are an abnormal fetal heart rate or position, fetal meconium (ruptured amniotic sac) or placental complications. Surgeons do the procedure as a matter of convenience, too. But a Caesarean, as with any other major surgery, has risks and drawbacks, including longer hospital stays, risk of infection, blood loss and anesthesia complications.
by Holly Perkins
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childhood asthma and even Type 1 diabetes. Doulas or midwives can work with an expectant mother and her doctor to ensure the most successful birthing experience in the delivery room. These trained health professionals follow the â€œMidwives Model of Care,â€? which includes â€œMonitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother ... hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support.â€? The second most common surgery performed on women in the U.S. is the hysterectomy, which removes a womanâ€™s uterus and,
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in some cases, her ovaries. In 2000, Mississippi had the highest rate of hysterectomies in the country, at 30.8 percent of women 18 and older having had a hysterectomy, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control. Doctors perform more than 600,000 hysterectomies annually in the U.S., and about threequarters of those donâ€™t meet the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines, according to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation. Surgeons perform the procedure to remove cancerous tumors, uterine fibroids and complications of endometriosis or uterine prolapse. While it is likely the best choice for cancer treatment, a hysterectomy can have complicated after-effects like early menopause, increased risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and cognitive impairment, weight gain and sagging organs. Women suffering from endometriosis and uterine fibroids may find relief with alternative treatments. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow inside or outside of the uterine wall. As many as 80 percent of all women may have fibroids; however, most do not suffer symptoms. Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, often on the ovaries and other organs. It is one of the top three causes of female infertility and affects more than 5.5 million women in the U.S. It is commonly associated with incredible pain and bleeding and is ranked in stages, one being the mildest and four being most severe. After consulting with more than 14 doctors, I tried nearly every treatment available to manage my endometriosis. The most helpful treatment at the time was laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure. While laparoscopy surgeries helped me tremendously, to steer clear of the knife, Iâ€™ve also found a combination of birth control, pain medicines, and eating a diet low in wheat and sugar that works best for me. If you are one of the thousands of women considering surgery, talk to your doctor, and get a second opinion, if necessary. Risks exist with any surgical procedure. Discuss them and possible after-effects with your doctor and see if they are worth taking for your health.
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by Kate Brantley
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hen my pastor invited our congregation to take part in a 21-day fast, I was thrilled with the idea. â€œWhat a great way to start the year off right,â€? I thought. My zeal soon turned to frustration, however, as I began contemplating how I would fast successfully. All sorts of people throughout history have fasted for causes: Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness; Mahatma Gandhi fasted for peace in India; Mexican American labor activist Caesar Chavez fasted for farm workersâ€™ rights; and Mia Farrow fasted to bring attention to conditions in Darfur. I chose to fast to gain a better perspective on my life and renew my reliance on God as the ultimate supplier of all my needs. A spiritual fast is less about the physical and more about your heart and soul, and most religions observe fasting. Catholics are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent to represent the sacrifice of Jesus. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan to redirect the heart from worldly activities, abstaining from food and other pleasures from dawn to sunset. Jews fast for up to six days a year, and Hindus observe a number of fast days depending on their personal beliefs and local customs. Fasting isnâ€™t always strictly about food; you can fast by giving up a specific activity, for example. You must also decide if you will be observing your fast 24 hours a day, from sun up to sun down, or on some other schedule. I chose to give up desserts, soda, movies and TV for my 21-day fast. However you choose to structure your fast, the main focus should not be on what you are giving up but what your purpose for fasting is. In my case, it was my relationship with God. I spent extra time in prayer, reading scriptures and meditating on Godâ€™s role in my life. During my fast, my momâ€™s health took a turn for the worst, which caused me to fiercely rely on my faith and strengthened my belief that God is ultimately in control of our lives. My experience with fasting was positive; it was not easy but was worthwhile. Fasting exposed spiritual deficiencies and areas of my life that need improvement. In the end, I believe my spirit is stronger and healthier. ,QWLPDWH 0RUH 3RZHUIXO 5HODWLRQVKLS ZLWK *RGÂ´ E\ -HQWH]HQ )UDQNOLQ &KULVWLDQDXGLR 6HHG XQ DEULGJHGDXGLRERRN
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esticides. Additives. Preservatives. These chemicals are in the foods most of us consume every day. Detoxification diets or fasts may prove helpful in ridding the body of these toxins; however, detoxification is a contentious issue. Supporters cite the need to get rid of toxins and a general feeling of well-being afterward; critics bring up the lack of scientific evidence supporting it and the danger of malnutrition. Dr. Joseph White of Jacksonâ€™s Optimum Health Wellness Center and board certified in internal medicine and anti-aging, believes detox diets effectively get rid of toxins. He is particularly concerned that we consume unhealthy fertilizers and pesticides, and encourages his patients to eat organic produce whenever possible. When organic is not available, he recommends washing fruits and veggies with a non-toxic produce cleaner. The doctor prefers juice fasts, where one only consumes homemade juices of fresh fruits and vegetables. Whiteâ€™s personal juice fast consists of carrots and celery. He notes that this is only one modality of detoxification and not exclusive. â€œWater fasting is the most potent way to clear your body of toxins, although people should not do these water fasts for more than three days.â€? White says. He also recommends taking multivitamins, mineral supplements and omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil or flax seed, during a detox fast. It is not uncommon to feel unwell during the process, with fatigue, an achy body and flu-like symptoms, White says. He attributes this to what he calls a healing crisis. â€œAs the toxins stored in the body are released into the blood stream, the body displays signs of sickness,â€? he explained. There are other deeper detoxifications available, like colon cleansing and intravenous nutrition, but should only be done under a doctorâ€™s supervision. Brady Taylor, a dietician and assistant director of clinical services for Nutrition Systems in Jackson, agrees that a diet heavy on organic fruit and vegetables is a healthy way to go, although he does not see a need for detoxification fasts. â€œThe liver, kidneys and other bodily organs cleanse your body all of the time,â€? he says. Taylor says that there is no hard medical proof to indicate that detoxification helps eliminate toxins or even that the body needs to be detoxified. He would not discourage healthy adults from brief detoxification fasts, but warns that detoxing also has risks. â€œProlonged detoxification can deprive the body of nutrients it needs such as protein and calcium,â€? he says. Taylor says reducing calorie intake drastically can be dangerous, especially for people with diabetes, heart disease or those with active lifestyles. If you plan to embark on a detoxification fast, he says, check with your doctor first.
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Monitor portion sizes. It’s incredibly easy to eat more calories than you need for the day, particularly if you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating. Look at caloric counts on foods before you buy them in the grocery store, and also look for them while eating at restaurants. The typical fast-food kid’s meal has the suggested calories for the average adult’s meal, so you probably don’t need two Big Macs, fries and a carbonated, sugar-laden beverage.
tion is if you have a long-term, monogamous partner, and even then, it’s a good idea to talk with your partner about birth control if pregnancy is a concern. The Centers for Disease Control recommends sexually active men, gay and straight, get tested for STIs every year, if not more often. Even though deaths from AIDS and HIV dropped from about 45,000 to about 20,000 annually from 1993 to 1997 (according to the CDC), other diseases, such as human papilloma virus, are increasing in prevalence with 30 million new cases of HPV reported each year, according to the World Health Organization in 2002.
by Dylan Watso
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Incorporate healthier meals Watch your drinking habits. into your day. Alcohol has calories. Thinking of your The United States Department of Agriculture suggests making half the grains you consume whole grains (refined grains have had some of their nutrients bleached out for consistency’s sake). Also, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, not just a few favorites. For meat-eaters, choose leaner cuts. One of the easiest ways to make sure you eat right is by planning ahead, so pack a healthy lunch and you won’t be tempted to run by Sonic or Burger King come noon.
Try going vegetarian.
health while drinking is probably not the most fun thing to do, but unfortunately, beer is notorious for its calorie and carbohydrate counts. Opt for a lighter beer (with calories clearly labeled) or drink water between beers. Limiting your drinking definitely has its benefits, not to mention that the Centers for Disease Control recommends it. While you’re at it, cut down or quit smoking cigars and cigarettes, and avoid using illegal substances that require sharing a needle.
Even if it’s just one day of the week or month, being wise about meat consumption can be crucial. Americans are some of the mightiest meat-eaters in the world; according to the USDA, we eat nearly 200 pounds of meat per capita per year—way more than the average person needs. Try getting your protein, iron and calcium from other sources, like vegetables and dairy products. You don’t have to go vegan, but every steak counts.
Get active at least three times a week.
Practice safe sex.
This should be a given. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight or bisexual, it is completely stupid not to practice safe sex. Just about the only time you don’t have to worry about condoms, birth control or contracting an sexually transmitted infec-
Don’t start next week. Don’t start in a month. Start today, or start tomorrow if you absolutely can’t swing it today. The only way to change a sedentary lifestyle is to do something about it as quickly and routinely as possible, now.
The CDC says men should be active at least two and a half hours per week, but any activity is likely better than none. It’s best to find a happy medium. If you’re used to running 10 miles a day, keep it up, but if you’re used to running one mile, don’t try to step it up to 10 miles tomorrow. Trying to keep your body fit is pointless if you hurt yourself in the process.
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en are often seen as individuals who ignore their health altogether. Here are some tips that, while not exclusive to men, appeal to my maleness.
Potties Fit For A Queen A Mind/Body Bookshelf by Ronni Mott
ellness is more than just the absence of illness. It incorporates the whole being, body, mind and spirit. Physicians and psychiatrists have studied and written about wellness for decades (at least), so we know their interest in wellness is far from being some new-fangled, new-age fad. When you’re ready to dive deeper into the subject, here are just a few highly recommended books about getting and being wholly well to get you started.
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“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Robert M. Sapolsky (Holt Paperbacks, third edition 2004, $19) “This book is a primer about stress, stress-related disease, and the mechanisms of coping with stress. How is it that our bodies can adapt to some stressful emergencies, while other ones make us sick? Why are some of us especially vulnerable to stress-related diseases, and what does that have to do with our personalities?” —from the book “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness” by Jon KabatZinn (Hyperion, 2005, $24.95) “In a passionate tour de force that blends personal experience with cutting-edge science (his own and others’), poetry and insights culled from many traditions, Kabat-Zinn sets out to awaken us to the true potential and value of a gift that most of us take for granted: sentience.” —Publishers Weekly
March 9 - 15, 2011
“Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating” by Andrew Weil (Harper Paperbacks, 2001, $14.95) “Weil illuminates the often confusing and conflicting ideas circulating about good nutrition, addressing specific health issues and offering nutritional guidance to help heal and prevent major illnesses.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Emotional Wellness Way To Cardiac Health: How Letting Go Of Depression, Anxiety & Anger Can Heal Your Heart” by Arthur Nezu, Christine
Nezu and Diwakar Jain (New Harbinger Publications, 2005, $16.95) “In this book, the first of its kind, experts on the effects of emotions on physical health adapt the latest research on how anxiety, anger, and depression contribute to heart disease into a program readers can employ to achieve a healthier heart.” —Publishers Weekly “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition” by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno (Three Rivers Press, 1997, $26) “[T]his classic naturopathic reference by two naturopathic physicians is still one of the best books on natural medicine for consumers. Comprehensive and easy to use, it discusses some 70 health problems.” —Publishers Weekly
“Healing and the Mind” by Bill Moyers (Main Street Books, 1995, $22.95) “Moyers explores by Dylan Watso the roles of thoughts and emotions in illness and health through interviews with 16 doctors and scientists. He visits stressreduction clinics and a cancer patients’ support group, and he investigates the new field of psychoneuroimmunology, which emphasizes the importance of patients’ attitudes to optimal immune-system functioning.” —Publishers Weekly “The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook” by David Sobel and Robert Ornstein (Time Life Medical, 1997, $22.99) “This book not only explains the important benefits of a healthy mind and body in simple, understandable language, but gives you practical ways to improve how you feel today.” —from the book “Minding the Body, Mending the Mind” by Joan Borysenko (Da Capo Press, revised edition 2007, $16.95) “[A] classic in the field, with time-tested tips on how to take control of your own physical and emotional wellbeing.” —from the book