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April 6 - 12, 2011

jacksonian

VOL.

9 N O . 30

contents

JXN on 311

WARD SCHAEFFER; MISSISSIPPI POWER CO.; AMILE WILSON; LISA LAFONTAINE BYNUM ;

JERRICK SMITH

6

Jacksonians now have an information and problem-reporting system for new access to the city.

Cover photograph of Lisa McCarty holding baby Ashlyn McCarty by Amile Wilson

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THIS ISSUE: Bad Rates Rising

Mississippi Power customers haven’t been hit with the new Kemper County plant costs, yet.

........ Editor’s Note .............. Slowpoke ...................... Talks ................ Editorial .................. Stiggers ...................... Zuga ................ Opinion ............. Diversions ................... 8 Days ............ JFP Events .................... Music ...... Music Listings ............. Body/Soul .................... Sports ...................... Astro ...................... Food . Girl About Town

chloe garth-elkins Chloe Garth-Elkins’ Saturday Upward Bound class at Jackson State University is learning about the word rastaquouere. The students begin to grasp the true meaning of the word through application of its technical definition: “social intruder; upstart.” GarthElkins patiently guides students through the lesson, inviting them to enter the world of scholars in constant pursuit of knowledge. “This is my world,” she says. “I invite anyone to come into my world, because it’s a beautiful thing.” Garth-Elkins, 53, teaches junior and senior English at Lanier High School. She began working with Upward Bound, a national program, when it came to Jackson State in 2007. Jackson Public Schools administrators select lower-income high school kids for the program’s enrichment classes that prepare students for college and scholarships. Many of the program’s students will be the first in their families to attend college, Garth-Elkins says. Together with Martha Alexander from Operation Shoestring (a Jackson non-profit that provides underprivileged children with a tutoring and mentorships), Garth-Elkins co-authored a grant to fund an afterschool enrichment program called 21st Century for the Lanier High School feeder pattern. Last month, Jackson Public Schools named Garth-Elkins the district’s Teacher of the Year. Garth-Elkins made it clear that the true honor is her students’ success. “You know how some people say, ‘That’s

what I want to do. I want to win accolades’? No, my accolade is the diploma of a student who otherwise thought that they would not have made it,” she says. “My accolade is knowing that our students are going to be positive and productive citizens in our society.” Garth-Elkins started out as retail buyer for Lord & Taylor in the early 1980s in New York City. After her children, Norris and Christian, were born, she sought a profession that would allow her to be at home more, and she unexpectedly fell into teaching. The Tennessee native earned a master’s degree in curriculum instruction and supervision administration at Trevecca Nazarene College, an affiliate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, in 1980. “I discovered when I started teaching that I should’ve been doing this for forever and a day,” she says. “It was like my completion. It was that excitement, that bonding I was searching for in the world of industry and the business world.” The birth of her granddaughter, Alason, led her to move to Jackson from Michigan in 2005. She admits she never planned to move to Mississippi, but she loves the opportunities she has had to fulfill her passion here. “We may be upset about things because they do not go the way we want them to go, the way we planned them. But there is a higher order that knows better,” she says. —Laney Lenox

14 War on the Poor Who says the southern strategy is a thing of the past? The U.S. Congress just has a new version.

38 It’s All Gravy When it comes to southern comfort food, nothing beats buttermilk biscuits and gravy.

jacksonfreepress.com

4 4 6 12 12 12 13 26 28 29 31 32 34 36 37 38 42

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editor’snote

Adam Lynch Award-winning senior reporter Adam Lynch is a Winona native and graduate of Jackson State. He and his family live in North Jackson. He wrote the cover story.

Amile Wilson Amile Wilson is a dedicated Jackson filmmaker and media consultant and a part-time politico. He has worked in D.C., L.A,, and a few countries, but always seems to come back to Jackson. He took the cover photo and other photos for the cover story.

Laney Lenox Editorial intern Laney Lenox is a freshman religious studies and anthropology major at Millsaps College. She hopes to expand her knowledge to serve her broad array of interests, of which writing is paramount. She wrote the Jacksonian.

Natalie Collier Style editor Natalie A. Collier is originally from Starkville and is a graduate of Millsaps College. She lived in Chicago for a while, but is now back in Jackson. She’s not easy to impress. She wrote an arts feature.

Valerie Wells Valerie Wells is the new assistant editor of the JFP and Boom. She lives in Jackson and Hattiesburg. Email her at valerie@jackson freepress.com. She wrote an arts feature.

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. Follow him @jfpsports on Twitter.

Ashley Nolen JFP editorial intern J. Ashley Nolen studied English and print journalism. Among many identities, she’s a lover, a deep thinker, a dreamer, a traveler, a writer, a student and a teacher. She wrote the Body and Soul feature.

April 6 - 12, 2011

Ashley Jackson

4

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.

Who’s Fooling Whom?

N

o one likes to be fooled. I was reminded of that after an overtly satirical piece I wrote April Fool’s Day, poking at Gov. Haley Barbour and the conservative “tough-oncrime” and pro-death penalty platforms, brought some unexpected strong reactions. But some people got their hopes up and then dashed. For any hurt I caused, I apologize. The larger purpose of the piece was not lost on everyone: The death penalty, beyond being morally repugnant to many, is economically unfeasible. The sources and facts I cited and the links I provided are the real thing. If Barbour has never had a “come to Jesus” moment about what it costs to put someone to death in Mississippi—and who’s on death row—someone should get up in his face and give him one. During the ’70s, I spent time demonstrating against injustice. The boys who died in the jungles of Southeast Asia were not the sons of the wealthy. The women who died of back-alley abortions were not the daughters of privilege. More than anything else, we protested the inherent unfairness of our system. It’s always been that way: When ordinary citizens get fed up enough, they rise up against the powerful and wealthy. We’re seeing it across the globe as people are saying, “Enough is enough.” In America the cries are coming in opposition to conservative attempts to rip away the rights of ordinary Americans to bargain for fair wages. And unlike the manufactured and corporate-funded “astro-turf” outrage of the Tea Party against government “interference,” ordinary people are calling attention to the absurd inequities fostered by decades of “pro-business” legislation that allow multi-nationals to pay zero taxes in support of the country that fostered their wealth. I spent this past Saturday at the fourth annual Criminal Justice Reform Conference at Jackson State University. The focus was on women, but the larger message was clear: Our justice system is skewed against the poor. The rich don’t go to prison for the same reasons the poor do, and you don’t find the sons and daughters of the wealthy on death row. The amount of wealth the private-prison industry generates is staggering. The largest company, Corrections Corporation of America, had revenues of more than $1.6 billion in 2009, and assets of nearly $3 billion. At the end of 2008, America had more than 2.3 million people behind bars in federal, state and local prisons and another 5.1 million on probation or parole, reported the Congressional Research Office last year. The industry employed about 770,000 Americans. Business is booming for private corrections companies. More than one out of every 31 American citizens is in “the system” somewhere, and the industry wouldn’t want it any other way. Just ask Gov. Barbour: His former lobbying firm (on which he continues to collect royalties) represents the prison industry. “Record incarceration rates can have

by Ronni Mott, Managing Editor ronni@jacksonfreepress.com

longer-term economic impacts by contributing to increased income inequality and more concentrated poverty,” the CRO study states. “The problems are exacerbated by the fact that African Americans and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to be incarcerated In fact, blacks, although just over 12 percent of the U.S. population, represent 36 percent of the federal and state prison population. Black women make up an astonishing 52 percent of women in those prisons. Since 1977, the rate of women behind bars has increased 720 percent, Bear Atwood, legal director of the Mississippi ACLU, reported Saturday. A record 1.7 million children under age 18 now have an imprisoned parent, according to the Department of Justice. The industry doesn’t want laws stemming from America’s war on drugs to change. They’re more than happy to “house” users and low-level mules who can’t plea-bargain their way out of mandatory sentences. The industry doesn’t want recidivism rates to decline or children to receive adequate early education to break the back of the cradle-to-prison pipeline. Why would it? As the CCA 2009 annual report states, “a decrease in occupancy levels could have a material adverse effect on our profitability.” Look, you’ll usually find me running for the door when people start spouting conspiracy theories. But whatever else you might believe about the most recent war on the poor that began in the Reagan years, the numbers of people America has incarcerated just don’t lie: Our rate of imprisonment is five times higher than the global average, and, with 5 percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Are you upset about your tax rate? Amer-

ican taxpayers spent about $68.7 billion in 2008 to house, feed, clothe and provide medical care to prisoners. Find one state budget item that has grown as significantly and that Barbour refuses to cut. So who is fooling whom? America’s criminal-justice system isn’t just broken, Jackson Councilman Chokwe Lumumba said Saturday. For minorities and the poor, it has always been bad. And it’s about as bad as it has ever been right now. As for the death penalty, best estimates put the cost of a capital trial at about $1 million more than when prosecutors don’t seek death, regardless of whether a jury hands down a death sentence—and two out of three juries don’t. Add the cost of appeals, special housing units and other “special” death-row-connected costs, and the numbers skyrocket. And it’s all on the taxpayer’s dime—your dime. Some politicians are coming to grips with the death penalty’s inherent inequities and huge costs. On March 9, Gov. Pat Quinn made Illinois the 16th state to ban capital punishment. “Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it,” Quinn said in a statement. Illinois joined New Jersey and New Mexico, which ended capital punishment in 2007 and 2009. In Connecticut, lawmakers tried to abolish the death penalty last year, but thenGov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, vetoed it. When it comes to the justice system, some of us are waking up to the fact that we’ve been the fools all along. It’s time to stand up for a better, more sane way to go.


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5


news, culture & irreverence

Thursday, March 31 Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi says that leaders who called for air strikes on Libya should step down, not him. … Gov. Haley Barbour says he won’t grant the Scott Sisters a full pardon. Friday, April 1 More than 100 people gather in downtown Jackson to march in support of a full pardon for the Scott sisters. … The U.S. Labor Department announces that the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.8 percent, a two-year low. … The city of Jackson announces a summer youth employment program to hire 900 teenagers. Saturday, April 2 The Mississippi Delta town of Belzoni celebrates the 36th annual World Catfish Festival. … Thousands of Muslim protesters, angered over a Qur’an burning at a Florida church, riot in the streets of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Sunday, April 3 The Academy of Country Music Awards honors the band Perry, who were nominated for Top Vocal Group of the Year, Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year. … Louisiana State University routs Ole Miss 8-to-2 in the third game of its baseball series.

April 6 - 12, 2011

Monday, April 4 President Barack Obama announces his re-election bid for 2012. … Mississippi Lawmakers pass legislation funding construction of a state civil-rights museum and a state history museum. … Strong storms and tornadoes kill seven people throughout the South. ... UConn defeats Butler in a low-scoring NCAA championship game.

6

Tuesday, April 5 U.S. House Republicans introduce a plan to cut $6 trillion from the national government’s budget over 10 years by reducing health programs for the elderly and the poor. … The city of Jackson rolls out its new 311 call center where citizens can report and track the progress of their issues. Get breaking news at jfpdaily.com.

If Congress adopts the U.S. House of Representatives’ current budget to fund federal programs for the rest of this fiscal year, Pell Grants for higher education would lose $81 million, affecting the 119,000 students in Mississippi who receive those grants.

The 411 on City’s 311 WARD SCHAEFER

M

ayor Harvey Johnson Jr. finally made good on a campaign promise of increased government transparency earlier this week. On Monday, Johnson announced the launch of the city’s “311” system for receiving and tracking service and information requests from citizens. Speaking at a press conference, Johnson hailed the technology as a way to give citizens and business owners improved access to various city departments. “I’ve been promising that we were going make sure we were getting more accountability and more transparency in government,” Johnson said. “This is one way to do it.” The system, modeled after similar services in many other cities around the country, allows citizens to request information or report non-emergency problems by dialing 3-1-1 from a landline or Cellular South cell phone, or by visiting 311.jacksonms.gov. Six city employees staff the 311 call center, located in the basement of the Eudora Welty Library. After logging a request or complaint, citizens receive a tracking number. Users can check the status of their request by calling 311 again or visiting the city’s 311 website, which displays requests by type on a city map. Calls could range from inquiries about hours of operation for the city’s libraries to reports of potholes or flooding problems. Business owners can use the service to request information on permits, licenses or grant opportunities as well as reporting infrastructure

by Ward Schaefer

Six city employees will take calls to the city’s new 311 system, handling requests for information and city services from the basement of the Eudora Welty Library.

problems or other quality-of-life issues. Expanding phone accessibility to other mobile networks should not take much longer, city spokesman Chris Mims said, and is only a matter of getting the networks to authorize access to the 311 number. Mims said he expects AT&T customers to have access to 311 by April 15. “We have no fear that it’s going to work,” Johnson said. “It’s just going to take time to work it out.” In the meantime, cell-phone users on other networks can call the Mayor’s Action

Line at 601-960-1111 to reach a 311 operator. Smart phone users should be able to access the city’s 311 website, Mims said. The web interface allows users to upload photos of their problems in addition to text descriptions. In addition to improving government accessibility to citizens, the system should also reduce the burden of non-emergency calls on city and county 911 operators. “We have too many administrative, nonemergency calls coming into 911,” Johnson said, adding that citizens should still call 911 311, see page 7

Workin’ for the Weekend

increases

“All of these guys are running re-election campaigns this year and probably don’t want to give opponents ammunition to use against them. Rate increases aren’t popular.” Sierra Club Executive Director Louie Miller speaking about the Public Service Commission’s delay in approving Mississippi Power’s rate increases that will finance building the Kemper County coal plant, already under construction.

S

ome people will do anything for money. Like many of you, those of us at the Jackson Free Press have held some, well, interesting jobs. See if you can match the job with the JFP staffer, below. JOB 1. Shampoo girl 2. Pizza delivery driver 3. Air Force sergeant 4. Popcorn popper at Malco 5. Labyrinth builder 6. Riding instructor 7. Barista 8. Co-host of an Emmy-winning TV show 9. Goodwill item sorter 10. Rapids on the Reservoir inner-tube vendor 11. Children’s party planner 12. Wore the Chuck E. Cheese suit 13. Public safety officer

JFP-er A. Ward Schaeffer B. Shannon Barbour C. Ashley Jackson D. Todd Stauffer E. Andrea Thomas F. ShaWanda Jacome G. Donna Ladd H. Valerie Wells I. Adam Lynch J. Kimberly Griffin K. Ronni Mott L. Latasha Willis M. Kristin Brenemen

ANSWERS: 1-G; 2-I; 3-H; 4-E; 5-A; 6-K; 7-M; 8-D; 9-L; 10-C; 11-B; 12-J; 13-F

Wednesday, March 30 Mississippi lawmakers reach a budget agreement for the next fiscal year. … U.S. House Republicans seek an IRS probe of the American Association of Retired Persons because AARP lobbied for the healthcare law passed last year and allegedly now stands to profit from it.

Brenda CarterEvans wants the feds to look into her son’s hanging. p 11


talk

news, culture & irreverence

311, from page 6

for emergencies. The next phase of Johnson’s plan for 311 is to install software that will automatically generate specialized work orders for city departments based on 311 requests, Mims said. The city has invested almost $600,000 in software and equipment for the system thus far. In August, the Jackson City Council approved the purchase of the two software packages that undergird the 311 system. One, CityWorks, uses Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, mapping technology to let city departments monitor infrastructure like sewers, roads and fire hydrants. CityWorks also logs citizen complaints. A second system, Request LoGIStics, allows citizens to report problems through the city’s website. Mims said that he was not sure when the mayor would bring funding requests for later phases of the system to City Council for approval. Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman

lent his support to the project. “I think that if this really works, we’ll see a milestone in communication with the public,” Tillman said. Johnson touted 311 along with a companion software system for identifying efficiencies, JackStat, while campaigning for mayor in 2009. Work on 311 began more than a year ago, and Johnson admitted that the project has moved slowly, in part because of the time it took to receive approval from the state Public Service Commission to use the 3-1-1 phone number. Mims said Tuesday that 311 operators have already begun fielding requests from citizens. The 311 system’s success ultimately depends on whether residents use it, though. A 2010 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that usage rates for similar systems in other cities vary widely. Over the course of a year, Detroit’s 311 system fielded 26 calls for every 100 residents, while New York City’s fielded 224 calls per 100 residents. Comment at www.jfp.ms.

Biz Round Up by Ward Schaefer

Petra Cafe opened this week in Fondren.

S

everal new restaurants are opening their doors in Fondren. The most recent is Petra Cafe, formerly of Clinton. The Mediterranean restaurant closed its second location (the first is in Hattiesburg) last month and relocated to the former Jerusalem Cafe site on Old Canton Road, opening officially last week. The new Petra boasts an entirely renovated interior. Owner and operator Ayman Albataineh says a remodeled outdoor seating area, with a roof, should be complete in one week. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Petra offers a lunch buffet for $9.99. The restaurant serves dinner seven days a week. Sushi Joint Opens Next Week Fatsumo Sushi, a Gulfport-based American sushi restaurant, will officially open its second location in Fondren April 11. The restaurant, Fatsumo Sushi and Martini Bar, had a soft opening Friday but will commence normal hours of operation next week. Located at 3100 N. State St., next to Fischer Galleries, the restaurant

Campbell’s Bakery Redux Fondren mainstay Campbell’s Bakery reopened under new owner Mitchell Moore March 24. Moore, who previously operated a private catering business specializing in cheesecakes and worked as a pastry chef at Nick’s Restaurant, purchased the business in February. The renovated bakery is now open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Moore adds an array of his own specialties, such as cheesecakes and cannoli, to Campbell’s existing menu of cakes and cookies. Finding Young Entrepreneurs A new citywide initiative brings together a number of organizations to target young adults interested in starting their own businesses. Business Entrepreneurship Training Collaborative for Young Adults, or BET4YA, aims to bring existing businesses and business owners together to provide coaching and mentoring to budding young entrepreneurs. BET4YA seeks to create a network of businesses that can refer young adults between the ages of 14 and 21 to workshops in entrepreneurship. For information, visit priydems.com or jacksonbusiness.net, or contact Johnnie Hawkins by calling 601-987-0031 or 769-251-1408 or emailing johnnie@ priydems.com. Get local business news at jfpdaily.com.

jacksonfreepress.com

WARD SCHAEFER

serves Chef Scott Meinka’s contemporary take on the Japanese cuisine.

7


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PSC Slow to Finance Approved Coal Plant

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“We’ll probably hold that as a special type of (meeting) when it comes up,� said Posey, who approved the permit allowing the company to charge ratepayers up to $2.88 billion last May in hopes of stabilizing electricity prices MISSISSIPPI POWER CO.

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he Mississippi Public Service Commission is taking its time approving rate increases funding a $2.88 billion coalburning plant already under construction in Kemper County. A majority of the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted to permit Mississippi Power Co. to build the plant last year, after more than a year of fiery controversy and debate. The agreement, in tandem with a 2008 Mississippi law, allows Mississippi Power to charge its Mississippi customers for the cost of the plant prior to its construction. Rates for Entergy Mississippi customers increased an average of 40 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s to fund the construction of the similarly priced Grand Gulf nuclear facility after it came online in Port Gibson. Critics of the Kemper plant, such as Sierra Club Executive Director Louie Miller, and even Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley—the lone minority vote on the commission against approving the permit—say the cost to Mississippi ratepayers is going to be painful, regardless of ratepayers paying for the plant two years in advance. “This thing is the biggest transfer of money from Mississippi Power customers to Mississippi Power stockholders in history,� said Miller, whose organization is appealing to the Mississippi Supreme Court a 2011 Harrison County Chancery Court decision favoring construction of the plant. But, so far, the PSC has yet to follow-up its permission to build the plant with approval of the required rate increases. Senate Bill 2793, which created the law allowing Mississippi Power to pre-charge its customers, authorizes the commission to conduct prudence reviews on any pre-construction, construction, operating and related costs associated with a power-generating facility. The law also “authorize(s)� the commission “to make and issue such prudence determinations as frequently as each calendar quarter.� Commissioner Lynn Posey said he believed the clock started ticking on the prudence reviews when Mississippi Power began construction of the facility in December.

Mississippi Public Service Commission has yet to consider possible rate increases to fund a $2.88 billion coal-burning plant in Kemper County.

for consumers in the long run. “There’s been some stuff done, but I don’t know if there’s been some work done by the staff, but it hasn’t been brought to our attention just yet.� Presley said he did not support making customers responsible for up to $2.88 billion rather than company stockholders. Mississippi Public Utility Staff Executive Director Bobby Waites said the quarterly deadline created by the 2008 Mississippi law is not an outright rule, and that the commissioners get to set the deadline. Those deadlines have yet to be determined,� Waites said. “The Baseload Act gives the commission the authority to have prudence reviews, but the commission has decided in its order that it will make a determination when the first prudence review will begin and at what intervals.� Miller said the PSC’s reluctance to address the issue may be political. “All of these guys are running re-election campaigns this year and probably don’t want to give opponents ammunition to use against them,� Miller said. While Kemper County is absent from

this week’s PSC meeting docket, commissioners will address Entergy Mississippi’s request for $51 million in reimbursements over a stalled expansion project at its Grand Gulf nuclear-power plant. Entergy filed an application with the Mississippi Public Service Commission in October to allow the company to eventually charge ratepayers for costs it incurred while unsuccessfully trying to construct Grand Gulf Unit 3 in Claiborne County. “The commission’s approval of the accounting treatment and other relief sought herein simply preserves the company’s right to seek at some future time recovery of prudently incurred costs and expenses incurred and to be incurred related to the development (of) Grand Gulf 3,� the company states in its Oct. 29 filing. The company ran up a $51 million tab for planning, evaluating and monitoring fees while trying to develop a new reactor, including $27.8 million in specific site costs, $21.8 million in generic project development and $1.5 million in company-specific costs. The U.S. Department of Energy ranked Entergy’s application too low in importance to commit to it federal financing, according to Entergy’s former Vice President of Nuclear Business Development Kenneth Hughey’s 2010 testimony to the commission. Entergy now proposes an Allowance for Funds Used During Construction account, which does not immediately charge ratepayers, but makes recovery possible in the future. The account would not produce revenue for the company but will add to the total capitalized cost of the plant, allowing Entergy to get a return on its investment if the failed project is ever successfully built and included in the rate base. Entergy said in its October filing that it is not currently seeking money to cover the lost investment, including “any increase in rates or any change in its present rate schedules now on file with the (Mississippi Public Service) Commission.� However, Miller said the company should not look for ratepayers to cover the failed start-up, not even in the future. Comment at www.jfp.ms.


Legislature: Week 13

by Adam Lynch

Reaching Agreement

‘Attempted Murder’ Dies The potential charge of attempted murder in Mississippi died last month when legislators failed to agree on it. Mississippi remains one

of the few states without an attempted-murder charge in the books, forcing prosecutors to fall back upon the lesser charge of aggravated assault in attempted-murder situations. Aggravated assault only carries a 20-year maximum imprisonment, however, which prosecutors say does not give them enough leverage when orchestrating plea deals with suspects. House Bill 1340 mandated 20 years to life imprisonment as punishment for attempted murder. Putting Ethics in Its Place With a pen stroke, Barbour put the pain of open-meetings violations on individual violators, as opposed to public bodies, this session. Currently, governmental organizations such as the Hinds County Board of Supervisors or the Jackson City Council are responsible for paying fines on violations of open-meetings laws, which means taxpayers ultimately pay the fines. Senate Bill 2289, however, allows the Mississippi Ethics Commission to charge the fines to individuals it deems responsible for the violations, not their public bodies. If the Ethics Commission finds that a member or members of a public body has “willfully and knowingly violated” ethics law, the commission can impose a penalty of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses, “plus all reasonable expenses incurred by the person or persons in bringing the complaint to enforce this chapter.” The bill becomes law in July. Comment at www.jfp.ms/

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Budget Comes Together Mississippi public schools may not suffer the kind of cuts Gov. Haley Barbour originally intended. The governor and House leaders agreed to a K-12 budget that Nancy Loome, executive director of public education advocacy group The Parents’ Campaign, says underfunds public education by $14 million compared to this year’s budget. The $14 million includes a $5.5 million reduction in the state formula—the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP—for allocating funds to local school districts. The Mississippi Professional Educators released a spreadsheet April 1 claiming that Mississippi Schools for the Blind and the Deaf will see a $241,709 reduction next year compared to this year, while Mississippi public television will suffer $357,720 in reductions. State funding for the Library Commission will only drop $41,103 compared to last year, by MPE’s numbers. The organization also claims the 2012 budget cuts $6 million the state’s In-

stitutions of Higher Learning. Senators and House leaders were willing, however, to offer an extra $9.8 million to the state’s community colleges, compared to this year. Mississippi’s mentalhealth facilities will live another year in the new $5.5 billion state budget. “House (leaders) almost got their full budget (request) for the state’s mental-health centers,” said Mississippi Economic Policy Center Director Ed Sivak. “The sweet spot was $252 million. They got $249.3 million. That, I’ve heard, will allow the state’s mental-health facilities to continue to do what they do.” Several of the state’s mental-health centers, including the Central Mississippi Residential Center in Newton, faced closure as the governor considered cutting almost $20 million in funding. Barbour argued a week ago that smaller, personal-care homes can duplicate many of the state mental-health centers. “This is a compromise budget,” stated House Speaker Billy McCoy, who advocated last month for mental-health institutions and public education to receive the same funding they got in 2011. “Whenever you compromise, you have a lot of give-and-take on both sides. That’s what happened here. While the final budget document may not have everything that the state House wanted, I, Chairman Johnny Stringer (D-Montrose), and Chairman Cecil Brown (D-Jackson), are convinced this does what we in the state House have wanted to do the entire session: adequately fund our state agencies, including those that were threatened by severe funding cuts—public schools, mental health, public libraries, homestead exemption, vital agriculture and forestry programs and other areas.”

FILE PHOTO

Going Special on Civil Rights The Civil Rights Museum and a Mississippi history museum live on after all. On Monday, legislators approved $20 million for construction of a proposed civil-rights museum and another $18 million for a Mississippihistory museum in Jackson. The decision comes after a plan to build both museums died in conference last month as senators and representatives failed to agree on funding, among other things. The original House Bill 1463 allotted $55 million in state funding for the construction of a national civil-rights museum, a museum of Mississippi history and a related parking garage in Jackson, although legislators appeared somewhat divided on where the civil-rights museum should be. One legislator attempted to locate the museum on Mill Street in Jackson, while a second tried to place the building in Leflore County. The governor personally restarted the effort to build the museum weeks after critics hit him for describing the 1960s civil-rights era in Yazoo as not “being that bad.”

9


developmenttalk

by Lacey McLaughlin

Sharing Spaces COURTESY MARIE OWEN

Silver Sage Co-housing Community in Boulder, Colo., (left) combines private duplexes with an open, shared courtyard. Nevada City Co-housing (right) is an 11-acre California community.

W All are invited to join us in worship. GALLOWAY UMC 305 North Congress Street | Jackson, MS www.gallowayumc.org

Palm Sunday, April 17 9:30 a.m. Palm Sunday Parade for the whole family! 11:00 a.m.

Galloway’s Annual Church on the Grounds Worship

April 6 - 12, 2011

on the Capitol Lawn under the Oak Trees across from the Church! Bring a blanket and/or chairs and dress for a picnic. Picnic lunch to follow the 11 a.m. Worship

10

Easter Sunday, April 24 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Easter Worship Service Rev. Drs. Connie and Joey Shelton

hile studying in Denmark in the 1980s, Charles Durrett noticed a housing community different from the typical condos and homes he passed during his 20-minute walk to the train station. He saw people drinking tea together on a porch and neighbors helping each other, and he felt a strong sense of community. When he stopped to ask a resident about the housing development, she explained that the occupants had designed it themselves. While they shared common spaces, they each had privacy in their own homes. They designed the development so that their children could play safely, and neighbors could actually get to know one another. “We didn’t want to leave it to chance,” the woman said, explaining that the residents intentionally co-created a neighborhood that connected common spaces and people. Now, more than 20 years later, Durrett and his wife Katie McCamant, both architects, have designed 50 co-housing communities throughout the country and authored books on the subject. Last weekend, they hosted a presentation and two-day workshop called “Intentionally Building Community” at Duling Hall, showing Jackson residents a stepby-step process to build their own co-housing community in the city. While co-housing has various interpretations, the architects define the concept as a format and process by which a group of people create and maintain their own neighborhood. In its purest form, a group of people purchase land together, agree on the architectural plans and participate in each stage of the development’s formation. Retrofitting existing buildings and creating privately owned homes around open shared spaced and common facilities are other co-housing options. Durrett pointed out that co-housing succeeds because residents take control and ownership from the beginning. “Picnic tables don’t create community; the people who know each other create community,” Durrett said. Fondren residents Marie Owen and her sister Hilda Owen organized the event, and have met for six months with about 15 other residents who want to build a co-housing development. Over the course of the two-day workshop, participants learned how to finance a co-housing community and how to make

group decisions. The 17 workshop participants also toured downtown Jackson and surrounding areas to scope out prospective sites. Owen said residents hope to have a co-housing community built in Jackson within two years. To design a co-housing development, group members must come to a consensus about the development’s amenities such as pools, playgrounds or gardens, as well as common spaces such a kitchens and playrooms. “It’s the purest form of democracy,” Marie Owen said. “… But you have to be focused on the big picture.” The majority of participants at the public presentation and workshop were middle-aged. Durrett said senior citizens and families are more likely to have the financial means for home ownership. “It seems to be the demographic that is less represented,” Durrett said about 20-to-30year-olds. “… One of the things about young professionals is that their life tends to be in flux. They are looking for career opportunities and mates. They are going to be more mobile. Co-housing is a settlement pattern.” Co-housing is taking on some forms in Jackson among younger residents and artists. The North Midtown Arts Center in the Millsaps Arts District has housed artists in its studio spaces on and off over the past two decades. A fence connects the arts center to two residential units and a workshop, and all the buildings share a common courtyard. North Midtown Arts Center Director Richard Stowe said the nonprofit is in the final stages of purchasing the arts-center building. He also said two adjacent residential units at 133 Millsaps Ave., which have the same owner, are for sale. Stowe, who worked in construction after Hurricane Katrina, said he would like to build more studio and living spaces on the arts-center property in the future. “We’d like to get some students there, since we are close to Millsaps College,” he said. “Hopefully in the next year we will work with architects and sponsors to do a model, and if that works out we will build them out as rentals or condos—something cheaper than traditional new construction. It could be like a gated art community that is really affordable.” Stowe said, ideally, the future owners of the adjacent property would want to support affordable studio and living spaces for artists. Comment at www.jfp.ms.


justicetalk

by Ward Schaefer

Brenda Carter-Evans wants federal authorities to investigate the Dec. 2 hanging death of her son.

cooperation from the state crime lab, which she said has withheld portions of the autopsy report and Carter’s personal belongings. The report Shaker released to Carter’s family does not include a toxicology report or pictures of the autopsy procedure. Hicks-Powe said that both are necessary to complete a second autopsy that the family has requested. Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks, who initially declared Carter’s death a suicide, contends that the pending, second indepen-

dent autopsy is the reason Shaker declined to specify the manner of Carter’s death. Banks said he still believes Carter’s death was a suicide, based on his department’s investigation. Sheriff’s deputies found a portion of the hanging rope in Carter’s pocket. In addition, the only DNA found on the rope was Carter’s. Deputies found no footprints other than Carter’s around the scene of the hanging. Carter suffered from schizophrenia, and family members said he had attempted suicide on two prior occasions, Banks said. Hicks-Powe contends that Banks was unaware of Carter’s mental history when he first described the hanging as a suicide. “We don’t deny Mr. Carter had mental challenges,” she said. “What we’re saying is they didn’t investigate this to determine whether those had anything to do with his death.” Two workers found 26-year-old Frederick Jermaine Carter’s body Dec. 3 hanging from a tree limb in predominantly white north Greenwood. By Dec. 4, Banks had told media that Carter’s death was an apparent suicide, although he added that further investigation could prove him wrong. Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, said at Thursday’s press conference that he visited the crime scene with Banks on Dec. 4 and saw that deputies had not secured the area with

F

police tape. Jordan went so far as to allege that by allowing contamination of evidence, local law enforcement had engaged in a cover-up. “There is some pretty valid belief that it was done elsewhere and brought there,” he said. Carter, who was African American, worked with his stepfather on a painting job in the area on Dec. 3. He wandered off after his stepfather left to pick up more supplies. Greenwood police responded to the scene first and contacted the FBI. Because Carter’s body was found outside Greenwood’s city limits, the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department took over the investigation. The sheriff told the Jackson Free Press that the FBI assisted deputies in their investigation of Carter’s death, but the federal agency has not launched its own investigation. The State Medical Examiner’s office performed an autopsy Dec. 5 and, on the following day, shared its results with Leflore County Coroner Debra Sanders, who also ruled Carter’s death a suicide. Carter’s mother, Brenda Carter-Evans, pleaded with state authorities to release his personal items or initiate an independent investigation. “Not knowing what happened is a torment,” Carter-Evans said. “I need to know what happened to my son.” Comment at www.jfp.ms.

PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T

eeling a little vanilla today? Maybe some Mint Chocolate Chip will brighten your mood? Or perhaps some Rocky Road, Very Berry Strawberry, or Pralines and Cream if you’re feeling nutty. No matter what you’re craving, nothing takes the edge off a hot Mississippi summer day than a scoop of one of 31 flavors of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. Baskin Robbins was born out of a dream two brothers-inlaw shared to create an innovative ice cream store that would not only make a great product, but would serve as a neighborhood gathering place for families as well. Burton “Burt” Baskin and Irvine “Irv” Robbins had a shared love of great ice cream and Baskin Robbins the desire to provide customers a high-quality product with a fun, wholesome atmosphere. Robbins described the business model for their ice cream venture as “We sell fun, not just ice cream.” As a teen, Robbins worked in his father’s ice cream store, and during WWII, Baskin was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and produced ice cream for his fellow sailors. After the war, the two entrepreneurs were eager to create a business. Although they started out in separate venues, eventually the ice cream shop with quality of product and great service grew into the Baskin Robbins of today. But to be successful, they recognized that to maintain their high standards, each store would require a manager who had an ownership interest in the business, thus the concept of the franchise was born. But how does a chain with over 2,800 locations across the United States and over 5,800 globally relate to Jackson, MS? The answer: local franchises. By being 100% franchised, with the individual franchisees holding a stake in the success of the operation, local owners can create a strong presence in the local community with many owners doing the daily scooping. “Not everyone likes all our flavors, but each flavor is someone’s favorite,” Irv Robbins once said. Since 1945, with over 1000 unique and delicious flavors of ice cream, Baskin Robbins has added other menu items to continue to expand with a changing customer base. The coffee trend? Baskin Robbins has that covered with Cappuccino Blast®. On a health kick? Baskin Robbins offers fruit smoothies and a number of low-fat, no-sugar options so tasty you’d never know you were missing out on a sugar kick. Birthday or special occasion coming up? Baskin Robbins has you covered with specialty ice cream cakes and pies both ready-to-purchase and special-order. And, if a cone isn’t enough, pick up a pint of your favorite ice cream, hand-packed and ready to go. There’s no need to scream on a sweltering Mississippi afternoon, just head over to your local Baskin Robbins at 587 Beasley Road or 957 Ellis Avenue for at least 31 flavors of delectable, cool, creamy ice cream.

jacksonfreepress.com

T

he Mississippi NAACP isn’t using the “L-word,” yet, but the civil-rights group has its doubts about the Dec. 2, 2010, hanging death of a Greenwood man. Last week NAACP President Derrick Johnson called on federal authorities to investigate the death of Frederick Jermaine Carter, citing a state autopsy report that he said refuted initial rulings by local law enforcement that Carter committed suicide. At a March 31 press conference, Johnson referred to Carter’s death as a “murder,” but he struck a more ambivalent tone otherwise, saying that a newly released autopsy report illustrated the need for further investigation. In his March 21 report, State Medical Examiner Adel Shaker ruled that Carter died by hanging but declined to stipulate the manner of his death, citing “[p]ending investigation.” Shaker noted no bruising or other unusual trauma to Carter’s body inconsistent with hanging, but Valerie Hicks-Powe, attorney for Carter’s family, disputed Shaker’s account. “There is evidence to support that this is not a suicide,” Hicks-Powe said. “I examined his body myself. I know for a fact there were (bruises on his body).” When asked where the bruises were located, Hicks-Powe declined to offer details. She focused on what she alleged was a lack of

WARD SCHAEFER

Finding Foul Play

11


jfp op/ed

opining, grousing & pontificating

EDITORIAL

Waiting on Transparency

T

he past week was a decent week for transparency in Mississippi, at least compared to most weeks in these parts. For one thing, the city of Jackson launched its 311 service so that residents can both log inquiries and requests and track the progress of the response. That’s a huge step in a state capital where many workers have long taken it personally when a reporter or citizen tries to look at public information. Over the years, we’ve been told off, more than once by one or another irate city or state public servant for requesting information they don’t think we should report on, not to mention for daring to take a critical view on the information once we got it. Or, someone nastily asks, “So why do you want it?” (Uh, because I and other taxpayers own it?) This small-town approach to public information (and criticism) is quaint at best, illegal at worst. That is, individual people who try to block or discourage the access of any public information, including the posting of public meetings of any sort, should go to jail as far as we’re concerned. (It is a crime that has far more victims than, say, most minor drug crimes.) Every citizen is a victim anytime a public employee tries to block access to information or to a public meeting. Thus, we’re happy that Gov. Barbour signed a law last week making this a more personal crime, even if it still does not go far enough. Starting in July, Mississippi will hold government employees personally liable for meetings that should be open to the public under state law. The state Ethics Commission can fine individual violators up to $1,000 per violation, plus expenses. As for open records, the law seems to be weaker now. Before, it had said that individual violators “shall” be fined for violations; now it says they “may” be fined individually. Of course, the problem here is that the fox is barring the henhouse door. That is, a governmental body is doing a dance about transparency rather than going full bore to ensure that the public can see inside our government and their offices at any time and on request. We need every single public servant to wake up and understand who they work for: the taxpayer. When we want our information, we should get it. It shouldn’t take a week, or two weeks, and it shouldn’t come with a lecture. Such transparency must be the price a government employee or elected official pays to get that government paycheck and the privilege of serving on the public’s behalf.

KEN STIGGERS

Controlling the Masses

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April 6 - 12, 2011

ockeyed Chicken Lady: “I’m your former spokesperson for Cockeyed Chicken here to inform the Ghetto Science community about my resignation from Cockeyed Chicken Inc. During my three years as spokesperson for Cockeyed Chicken, I studied and learned a lot about marketing techniques used to convince consumers in the Ghetto Science community to buy and eat Cockeyed Chicken. “I discovered that the Cockeyed Chicken marketing team employs a ‘demographic profile’ as part of their marketing strategy based on age, gender, income level, race and ethnicity. I wondered if entities such as government, law enforcement, education and entertainment use “demographic profiling” as a method to control the masses. I believe they do. And I unknowingly participated in this process by allowing Cockeyed Chicken to use my image to appeal to the financially challenged demographic. “A couple of weeks ago, I promoted Cockeyed Chicken’s $4.99 midweek special for the ‘10 Piece Family Affair Meal.’ Legions of financially challenged customers stood in line at several Cockeyed Chicken franchises to take advantage of such a good deal. The result of the demographic study is that poor folk love that Cockeyed Chicken. “Perhaps the $4.99 mid-week special is another market-research project for some extreme political party looking to attract or deter a new group of voters. Again, we’re victims and spectators all at the same time. “Therefore, I must use my new-found knowledge to teach the people to think critically. This press conference announcing my resignation from 12 Cockeyed Chicken Inc. is just the beginning.”

CHATTER

Noise from jacksonfreepress.com

Hinds County to ‘Rebrand’ Itself “Once again, outsourcing design projects to other states. What the hell is wrong with ‘pro-Mississippi’ politicians and businesses outsourcing so much work like this?” —Knol Aust “I don’t believe for one minute that they cannot find a design/branding firm in the city or at least state who can spend three days doing this just as well. Nothing personal, Arnett, but what’s with the outsourcing? And if they don’t get the, er, special circumstances of this capital city’s urban politics and dynamics, this thing could really go poorly.” —Donna Ladd “Most of the time, municipalities will reach outside the network to get an outside perspective for a balanced nonbiased opinion, basically a fresh perspective.” — Duan C. ““I would go slowly with the whole issue of branding. We’ve spent a ton of money on this before and I’m not sure how much we got out of it. “From their website, this firm they’re talking about churns out municipal brands like some sort of assembly line. That makes me nervous. “The last thing we need to do is spend a whole bunch of money and end up with nothing to show for it except a new logo or a new slogan.” —Boyd Campbell “If we’re not going to spend this money on direct services like education and police, I humbly submit that we can get more bang for our image-building

buck by spending the money that would go to consultants on plane tickets and meals for people who do interesting things. “I’m serious. If you get people to Jackson and put them in a position to do interesting work with the people here, I guarantee that they become evangelical about this place.” —mpriesterjr “I hate the whole ‘let’s rebrand it to respond to bad publicity’ thing. That’s such corporate-think. How about: Let’s get a strong group of community leaders together and go talk to each and every editor and station manager in this city about faulty, sensationalistic, constantly negative reporting.” —Donna Ladd “I think Arnett will have more insight than a typical out-of-state group because they have done so much work with Main Street communities throughout the state. I know Mississippi Main Street recommends this group with head of Main Street speaking highly of them on more than one occasion.” —maybob95 “OK, here’s what bugs me: ‘The three-day process involves a series of meeting with community leaders as well as the public to form logos, taglines, marketing plans, web pages and signage.’... “If there’s no more consideration to it than that, then I say we just go back to “the bold new city” and save a few bucks. — Boyd Campbell Join the conversation at www.jfp.ms.

Email letters to letters@jacksonfreepress.com, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to P.O. Box 5067, Jackson, Miss., 39296. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Giving Time Editor in Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Ronni Mott News Editor Lacey McLaughlin Assistant Editor Valerie Wells Senior Reporter Adam Lynch Reporter Ward Schaefer Events Editor Latasha Willis Music Listings Editor Natalie Long Assistant to the Editor ShaWanda Jacome Style Editor Natalie Collier Writers Quita Bride, Lisa Fontaine Bynum, David Dennis Jr., Scott Dennis, Bryan Flynn, Carl Gibson, Brandi Herrera, Garrad Lee, Lance Lomax, Anita Modak-Truran, Larry Morrisey, Chris Nolen, Robin O’Bryant, Casey Purvis,Tom Ramsey, Doctor S, Ken Stiggers, Jackie Warren Tatum, Byron Wilkes Editorial Interns Laney Lenox, Holly Perkins, J. Ashley Nolen, Dylan Watson Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris

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"TTPDJBUJPOPG "MUFSOBUJWF/FXTXFFLMJFT

T

ime is something I don’t have a lot of these days. So when Operation Shoestring Development Director Wade Overstreet asked me to sit on a planning committee for the organization’s upcoming Spring Fling fundraiser, I thought about what I could do to help an organization that plays such a vital role in our community. In the past, I have covered Operation Shoestring’s “A Conversation About Community” fall fundraiser, and I visited their Bailey Avenue facility last summer when I was working on the JFP story “Keeping Kids In School.” But I had never actually served as a volunteer, seeing the organization operate through that lens. Operation Shoestring is a hub of progress, hope and second chances. The organization, which started in 1968, primarily serves students and families in the Lanier High School feeder pattern by offering a free after-school program with activities and tutoring. Shoestring is also a referral resource for parents who need medical services, food assistance, GED classes and general support services. Carving out two hours of my time on a Monday afternoon was a challenging prospect. I had big deadlines looming, dozens of emails to reply to and several phone calls to return. But when I arrived at Operation Shoestring to find about 75 third, fourth and fifth graders absorbed in their textbooks (the other students are nearby at other locations because the program has gotten so large), I knew that this was one of the most important ways I could spend my time in Jackson. More than 90 percent of the students at Rowan Middle School and Galloway Elementary School, the schools Operation Shoestring serves, are eligible for free and reduced lunches, an indication of poverty. By providing caring adults and a safe place, promoting healthy eating and placing a high priority on education, Operation Shoestring hopes to alleviate cycles of poverty. Volunteers are a vital component of this process. The organization employs 37 teachers part time but serves more than 300 children and teenagers per year, so volunteers typically tutor students one-on-one or mentor them. “Time is the hardest thing to give up, and it’s the most precious gift,” Operation Shoestring Project KIDS coordinator Kim Luckett told me during my impromptu volunteer training session. Amen, sister, I thought. Luckett advised that I act naturally around the kids and be honest about my commitment. The worst thing is for a child

to expect you and then you not show up, she said. She also told me to be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for the children to warm up to new people. I have to admit, I was a little nervous at first. I don’t typically hang out with fourth-graders, so I wasn’t sure how I’d register on their cool meters. When Galloway Elementary School fourth-grader Kayla sat beside me with her math workbook, she told me that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up, and I smiled, knowing I was in good company. We practiced mean, median, mode and range for her homework assignment. (Yes, I had to give myself a quick refresher course). On a few problems, Kayla added and subtracted numbers faster than I could keep up with her, and once she even caught my own addition error. “See, it’s like that game show, ‘Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” and you just won,” I joked. In between workbook problems, Kayla would stop to ask me the essential questions: Why is your hair so blonde? Do you have kids? Do you want kids? Do you watch Nickelodeon? Eventually, she shared a few details about herself. In New Orleans, she had lots of friends and got to play with them all the time. But then Hurricane Katrina came, and she had to move to Jackson. When she was in second grade, she got mad a lot and didn’t want to do any schoolwork. Now she likes doing her homework and wants to be a writer or maybe a detective someday. She likes to save her spelling words for when she gets home so she can practice with her mom. The staff at Operation Shoestring says that Kayla has made tremendous improvement in her reading and math levels over the past year, and they try to get her one-on-one attention whenever possible. I had told Kayla that I was only there for that day but hoped to come back if I could find more time in my schedule. I wished I could promise her that I would be back again to help her. I wondered how she would do when her teacher tested her on the material. “Thanks for helping,” Kayla said, as she collected her belongings. “If you ever get time to come back, I’ll see you then.” Attend Operation Shoestring’s annual Spring Fling starting at 7 p.m. April 15 at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The event includes food and live entertainment by The Chill. Tickets are $20 and available at the door. For information about volunteering, email info@operationshoestring.org or visit www.operationshoestring.org.

The worst thing is for a child to expect you and then you not show up.

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13


WAR ON THE POOR: Congress Embraces a

New Southern Strategy by Adam Lynch

I

April 6 - 12, 2011

AMILE WILSON

t was 7:30 in the morning, and the smallest beneficiaries of the Richard Brandon Head Start Center at 5920 N. State St. followed their young parents into the mass of little portable units. One hobbit-sized girl lifted her legs awkwardly up each of the wooden steps to the main building, keeping her eyes focused on her toes. This particular facility serves a total of 160 children ages 3 to 4. A second facility not far away offers baby-sitting for

14

Labor supporter Alexander McAllister rallied March 15 in Jackson to protest union-busting efforts in Wisconsin.

newborns and toddlers. Federal grants fund the facility. Many of the parents dropping their children off at the State Street facility clearly have busy days ahead of them. The women are dressed for business, with office slacks and conservative dress implying a full day behind a desk, counter or food line. Some of the fathers wear smudged but fragrant outerwear suggesting a futile run in the washer the night before. They appear to have a date with a shovel, hammer

or socket wrench, but for now their arms are around their kids, forcing one last hug on their struggling boys before the grudging kids escape and join their playmates. Yolanda Henderson, whose child Jared is following his older twin brothers Jayden and Jaleel through the State Street facility, said she would not be able to handle traditional daycare alternatives to Head Start, which could easily cost more than $150 per week.


Targeting the Poor The cuts to Head Start are only a scratch in the patina of the House’s plan to cut services for the needy. The Center

Union supporter Bobby Kearan says that corporations and the wealthy are gaining too much power over laborers.

improvement—which the U.S. Department of Education recently renamed “Education Improvement”—would lose $13.4 million. College education for the non-wealthy would take a hit with the state losing $81 million in Pell grants, which CBPP estimates would affect 119,000 Mississippi college students. But wait, there’s more: Employment training also suffers under H.R. 1, which would end federal grants for job training under the Workforce Investment Act, a grant that allocates $17.9 million to Mississippi. The shutdown could end services for nearly 16,000 unemployed state workers, more than 11,000 low-income adults and 6,400 training programs for youth ages 14 to 21, CBPP says. The same cut would remove $1.6 million from a separate vocational and adult education fund monitored through a Career, Technical and Adult Education program at the U.S. Department of Education. Also among targeted cuts are $12.3 million for state housing programs, via the Public Housing Capital Fund, which funds repairs for public housing, and $18 million in cuts for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s effort in maintaining clean drinking water. All of these cuts, of course, mean job losses in the state— Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Politico.com that H.R. 1 would cost “a couple hundred thousand jobs.” Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. reacted with horror at $24.1 million in cuts H.R. 1 would bring to statewide Community Development Block Grants, which the mayor said the city uses for economic development and financial assistance to businesses, and which create an estimated 240 new full-time jobs and preserves another 210 full-time jobs over a five-year period. Within the last five years, the city of Jackson spent $2.7 million on public improvements including street repairs, water and sewer improvements, and development of parks and recreation. Also within five years, the city spent another $1.8 million on public services, including senior and youth projects, employment training, and services for neglected or abused children. “CDBG is one of the most effective federal domestic programs to revitalize neighborhoods with proven results,” Johnson stated in a letter to U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss. Harper voted in favor of the bill and told The Meridian Star that the bill is “fiscally responsible” and “the beginning of federal budget reform that will require more reductions and eventually must reach to entitlement programs if we are to

restore fiscal integrity to our nation.” Women’s health also takes a nasty turn for the worst, with the new cuts eliminating the Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative at the Office of Adolescent Health and the Title X Family Planning Program, which received $317.5 million in fiscal year 2010. This loss would filter down quickly to Mississippi and other states. Likewise, the budget proposal also reduces funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $850 million, reduces funding for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant by $50 million and takes $1 billion from nationwide Community Health Centers. “For every public dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save $3.74. By eliminating the Title X, (more than) 5 million women across the country will lose access to basic primary and preventive health care. ... Six in 10 women who access care from a family-planning health center consider it to be their main source of health care,” said Felicia BrownWilliams, regional director of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood, in a statement. Brown-Williams said that by helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, Title X-supported centers in Mississippi saved $23.4 million in public funds in 2008, and that the abortion rate in the state would be 68 percent higher without Title X services. She added that H.R. 1 cuts would “impact 106 health departments and community health centers across the state,” and that these services helped women in Mississippi “avoid 12,700 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 5,600 births and 5,300 abortions,” in 2008. The bill must survive the Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., so far, is not a fan. Reid told reporters last month that the House budget proposal was not “a compromise,” but a “hardening of (Republicans’) ... original position” regarding eliminating government. But why so hard a stance on government services in the first place? Tougaloo College professor of political science Steve Rozman says it’s all about the money and where the wealthy want it to go. “The question you have to ask yourself,” Rozman said, “is how we got from there to here.” A few decades ago, he said, the nation was at a pretty good starting point, with an eye toward its future. The End of the New Deal Labor organizations found their voice in the wake of rampant industrialism during the Great Depression of the 1930s, said University of Mississippi journalism professor and author Joe Atkins, who writes on the South’s labor movement. “That was no accident that this was the same decade as the Great Depression,” Atkins said. “People finally were in a position to say, ‘What the hell have I got to lose?’ It was that bad.” The years 1935 through 1939 saw the beginnings of the national health insurance debate with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, through which the president and Congress created financial relief for an ailing populace falling victim to a worldwide depression. Roosevelt pushed for national labor and health reform throughout his two terms. The Social Security Act is one of his more popular and enduring creations. In a move resembling the 2009 health-care debate, Roosevelt pushed for a second wave of health-care reform after getting the Social Security Act passed, but Congress, by then, was suffering a brand of cold feet reminiscent of today’s congressional conservatives after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Congress lost its zeal for FDR’s government expansions; even the ones that potentially extended health-care coverage. Still, Atkins said the 1940s through the 1960s, as a result of the remaining tendrils of the New Deal, were some of America’s best in terms of economic comfort. Widespread see page 16

jacksonfreepress.com

Spreading the Pain On Feb. 19, the U.S. House of Representatives, under new Republican management since last November, passed an appropriations bill that virtually yanks the rug out from under the Head Start program in Mississippi. House Resolution 1, according to Mississippi Head Start Association Executive Director Nita Norphlet-Thompson, would cut $25 million from the program in Mississippi. This cut, says the association, amounts to the loss of services to roughly 4,600 children statewide, and could end employment for 1,200 Mississippi Head Start workers. While House Republicans press the Democratic Senate to get onboard with the cuts, Congress has agreed to a temporary funding plan that keeps agencies funded at fiscal-year 2010 funding levels. The temporary funding plan doesn’t virtually deflate the state program, but neither does it address the state’s grievous childhood education shortfalls. “Under the temporary resolution, we’ll stay where we are, which won’t account for inflation, which won’t allow us to serve additional children, but it’ll put us in a position that we won’t have to cut kids and we won’t have to cut staff,” Thompson said. “In a perfect world, we’d get an increase, because right now we’re looking at close to 3,000 kids that we have on a waiting list. We’d love to be able to serve more children. That’s the idea, but if we can just stay where we are, not lose any of the enrollment opportunities that we have and not have to reduce our employment rolls …” Thompson’s voice then trailed off into silence, as if the prospect of losing the program derailed a train of thought. These cuts come at a time when Head Start is already about to suffer from the expiration of emergency economic-incentive recovery funds President Barack Obama signed into law two years ago as a component of the 2009 Recovery Act. Obama’s signature made possible an additional 914 Head Start slots for children. Combined with the cuts proposed in HR 1, a total of 5,500 children could lose Head Start Services.

on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report in February outlining what H.R. 1’s impact would be state-by-state. What’s clear from the findings is that the Magnolia State, with its disproportionately high population of impoverished citizens, will suffer, if the new House gets its way. Mississippi’s educational programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education, which serve the disadvantaged, would lose $14 million in federal allocations, while school AMILE WILSON

“We take care of the entire children’s needs: mental health, disabilities, education and health, anything that they need. And we also provide critical support services to parents through Head Start and other programs,” Hinds County Human Resource Agency President and CEO Kenn Cockrell said. The kids get two meals a day, plus snacks, courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Education through their U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored child and adult food program. Parents don’t pay a thing. Sounds lovely, but the program targets low-income households—very low-income households that generate roughly $22,000 for a family of four. Parents of a disabled child don’t have to meet that income cap because a disabled kid is a bigger money-sink than a Bugatti. It’s clear that people with these kinds of financial limitations have few day-care options for their kids. Many of the parents, Cockrell said, qualify as the working poor. They work for minimum wage, which barely sustains them. “I wouldn’t know what to do if it weren’t for Head Start. I would not be able to afford pre-school or day care, especially with twin boys,” said Henderson, who also praised the program’s training. Jayden and Jaleel, she said, excel at Watkins Elementary School because of Head Start’s education preparation. Despite the program’s obvious benefit, she and 2,177 other mothers served by the Hinds County Head Start system may have to ask themselves what they will do in its absence if the debate in Congress continues along its current line. Head Start is only one of many programs that face steep cuts if a corporate-backed effort to maximize profits continues to sweep the country.

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ADAM LYNCH

from page 15

April 6 - 12, 2011

Children at the Richard Brandon Head Start Center enjoy work time after breakfast.

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labor agreements in the North secured decent wages for many employees. Even non-unionized employees working two doors down the street benefited in part from other employees’ union-orchestrated work agreement because their employers had to compete with unionized employers, who offered great wages and benefits. But then, things began to take a different turn, said Rozman, who is also director of Tougaloo’s Center for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility. “I can remember when President Ronald Reagan came in. He gave people the reassurance they wanted to hear,” Rozman said. “’Government is the problem, not the solution,’ he said, then he booted the air traffic controllers, and destroyed their unions and got people fired.” Rozman said Reagan coupled his anti-labor attitude with a more nationally palatable U.S. foreign policy advocating strength, which reassured people. But Reagan represented a pendulum swinging to the decades-long onslaught of progressivism that left the nation’s older generation reeling at emerging cultural differences. “Liberalism perhaps pushed too far in the 1960s for some people. You had all these social changes, and we’ve got a whole pattern from the1960s and the drug culture,” Rozman said. “Middle America thought: ‘Look what’s happened. Our whole values system is destroyed, and we have inflation skyrocketing.’” Then Reagan came along with an assertive foreign policy that effectively outmaneuvered the Soviet Union in the arms race during the Cold War (rather like seeing who can go bankrupt last. We won—sort of—Rozman opines.) Suddenly, the nation has confidence in itself again after disastrous unemployment, and the economy stabilizes despite blooming debt under the Republican president. “So Reagan and his policies become the hero,” Rozman said, “but you’ve got to look at the whole broad pattern. Today, for

example, we’ve got a situation where people are frightened again. (Former Republican vice presidential candidate) Sarah Palin, (Minnesota Republican U.S. Rep.) Michele Bachmann—these people could never have represented a political party in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, because any party would’ve been embarrassed to have that kind of personality as a standard-bearer. But now you’ve got huge numbers of Republicans who see Palin as presidential. This gives you an idea of how frightening people see the future as being.” Reagan’s mantra of “government is bad” manages to hang tight in this new era of anxiety, even as middle-class-creating government regulation dwindles and unfettered capitalism funnels wealth back into the hands of the wealthy. Wages are stagnant, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that focuses on the interests of low- and middle-income workers. And the rich are getting richer. “Income growth over the last few decades has been enormously unbalanced, and this must be taken into account as the nation considers shifts in tax policy and develops a fiscal plan that strengthens the (economic) recovery and targets a sustainable deficit,” EPI reported in September. The organization points out that the pre-tax incomes of the nation’s upper 1 percent income bracket grew 214 percent, while the incomes of the middle-fifth and lowest-fifth grew 25 percent and 4 percent, respectively, between 1979 and the start of the current recession in 2007. “This extremely unbalanced growth implies that 38.7 percent of all of the income growth accrued to the upper 1 percent over the 1979-2007 period: a greater share than the 36.3 percent share received by the entire bottom 90 percent of the population,” EPI reported. Under these circumstances, the wealthy require a system that acts as their champion, Rozman said, a system that defends the growing wage gap. Thankfully for them, a whole region of the nation had already perfected the formula.


jacksonfreepress.com

AMILE WILSON

Poor southerners rarely sided with The South Leads the Way working blacks in this fight, and did their part The idea of protecting the wealthy and to keep blacks earning a pittance. But in so dumping social-relief programs and fair wages doing, Atkins said, the poor southern white is nothing new to the South, which was never man created an impossible competitor. How, known for its outstanding economic safety he asks, could fair wages compete against the net or its middle class. non-compensated work of a slave, or even the Atkins said the South’s history is still dirt-earnings of a black sharecropper? suffering the lingering evil of slavery, which “Whites competed with blacks for low later birthed slightly more subtle forms of wages in a race to the bottom, which is where slavery in the sharecropping and tenantthe elite wanted them,” Atkins said. farming industries. In the South, fair labor Organized labor and its mantra of could never compete with a crowd of workers fair pay never found love in the South. A ineligible for any pay whatsoever. comparison between a map of states that “What is slavery if not the cheapest labor seceded from the union at the onset of the of all, even if it did have its own expenses in Civil War and a map of states with antiterms of upkeep. It was controlled labor,” union laws nets a stunning similarity. Atkins said. “Throughout the course of In some states, unions can make union southern history, with Jim Crow laws and membership a condition of employment at the imposition of sharecropping and tenant some unionized businesses. Right-to-work farming, it’s always been the same story over and over again. You’ve got a business political laws restrict labor unions and employers from elite that for years making union worked hand-in-hand membership or to maintain a region payment of union with the cheapest dues a condition labor and worst of employment. benefits of any region Anti-union group in the country.” National Right to The attitude Work Legal Defense began with a southern Foundation Inc. mind. For decades, describes a right-tosoutherners fostered work law as a law a patriarchal kind that “secures the of society, dating right of employees back to antebellum to decide for days, in which themselves whether wealthy landowners or not to join or proclaimed to the financially support lower-income brackets a union.” that “I will take care of Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who Union advocritics complain has advocated for underyou and yours.” cates argue that funding public education and mental Southerners, said health, may announce a run for the right-to-work laws Atkins, culturally re- presidency as early as this month. put union members semble immigrants at a disadvantage from southern Italy in the employment at the turn of the last century: religious and pool because non-union workers who are thoroughly rooted in a hierarchical society. unbound by union contracts still benefit from The southern man, by Atkins’ description, union-employer collective bargaining. Critics has an unseemly physical habit of bending of right-to-work laws, such as Mississippi at the knees. He respects authority and Alliance of State Employees President Brenda tends to let authority dominate. Authority, Scott, say the laws also keep wages as low meanwhile, worked in tandem through- as possible by removing workers’ ability to out the South with strong religious leaders bargain for better pay. fostering an attitude of subservience in Scott refers to right-to-work laws as the community. “right-to-work-for-less” laws. “The southern politician, all through the Right-to-work states tend to have a higher South’s history—even the vice president under rate of workplace fatalities, union advocates Roosevelt, John Nance Garner—essentially say. The AFL-CIO claims U.S. Bureau of represented the elite of the South, but they Labor Statistics show states with right-tospeak the folksy ‘I’m one of you’ language of work laws suffer a 52.9 percent higher rate of the common people, and played to the fear workplace deaths. The Louisville, Ky., Metro of outsiders, and that helped keep them in Council Democratic Caucus also claimed in power,” Atkins said. 2006 that if Kentucky enacted anti-union Until the second half of the 20th century, laws, the state would foster dangerous work poor white southerners barely registered on environments, arguing that “workplace the radar. The wealthy told them—from the fatalities per 100,000 workers was highest in days they took a bullet during the Civil War right-to-work states.” to protect a rich man’s right to own slaves U.S. Department of Labor economist to the days they beat down a black union Matt Dotson would not confirm the organizer—that they at least didn’t have it as bad as blacks. To keep it that way, the wealthy see page 19 elite had to ensure that blacks had it bad.

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Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, has routinely battled Senate Republicans and Gov. Haley Barbour to keep the state’s public education fully funded.

Jackson resident Yolanda Henderson says she cannot afford traditional day care for her son Jared and may have to quit working if the Head Start center in Jackson closes due to federal budget cuts.

who now represents the Mississippi Revenue Coalition, a group seeking to offset drastic cuts to public education with revenue from legal tax-dodgers. “This is a slap in the face of small business owners of our state who create jobs for Mississippians and who pay their taxes, and a slap in the face of our children because they are the ones who will suffer from cuts in education due, in large part, to low tax collections.” Anderson explained that corporations have an army of accountants working full-time to find new ways to legally exempt their clients from paying state taxes. One popular method, he said, involves putting the company’s corporate headquarters in a different state while raking in tons of cash from Mississippi customers. The companies siphon the cash to corporate headquarters and then pay their subsidiaries’ employees through dividends, which the state of Mississippi does not tax. Not that anybody is trying overly hard to rein it in. In 2008, Gov. Haley Barbour announced the creation of a public-private Blue Ribbon Tax Study Commission, charged to study the state’s tax code and deliver suggestions for improvement. The commission walked into the debate with an unmistakable preference for low corporate taxes. “The Commission believes that growth and job creation must be the primary focus for any recommended changes to the existing tax structure,” the commission stated, and then cited a quote from economic index “Rich States Poor States”: “States with the lowest tax, spending and regulatory burdens win the competitiveness contest, period. These are primarily in the south and southwest regions of the nation.” “Mississippi has a diversified and balanced tax structure which ranks well in national studies but with room for improvement,” per the commission, which included an updated tax-management software system. It offered no opinion, however, on what a 2003 John C. Stennis Institute of Government report called a regressive tax system that demanded more out of the state’s poor residents. The Stennis report “The Mississippi Budget: An Overview of Selected Revenue and Expenditure Patterns” concluded, “Mississippi families making $19,000 or less are estimated to be paying roughly 20 percent of the state

and local tax revenues paid by families.” The report also described the lowest two income fifths as “estimated to pay 10 and 11.5 percent (respectively) of family income in taxes, while a family in the highest 1 percent pays only 6.9 percent of family income in state and local taxes.” The economic environment of low costs and a large pool of persistently poor workers jives well with a relatively nonexistent regulations policy in selling the South as a destination point for quick profits—like a Third World country. The South made itself the cheap destination for industry in the U.S.—“smoke-stack chasing,” Atkins calls it. The plan works well with industries like the textile trade, that is, until the easy-money industries find even more destitute labor elsewhere, such as in Mexico, Japan and, later, China. The Mississippi Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory annually published by Manufacturers’ News Inc., reported in 2009 that industrial employment in Mississippi fell 5.4 percent between 2008 and 2009. The state lost 10,761 industrial jobs and 158 manufacturers from February 2008 to February 2009, the steepest loss MNI has ever reported for the state, it claims. Plenty of that had to do with the nation’s faltering economy, but The Economic Policy Institute reported that Mississippi has been losing the battle to maintain manufacturing jobs since 2001, long before the recession kicked in. Mississippi, in particular, suffered a net loss of 40,900 manufacturing jobs between March 2001 and June 2008, a 3.6 percent decline. When confronted with the largely unregulated foreign hellholes with a brisk future in child labor and employee abuse, even the state of Mississippi had lost its hellhole advantage. Still, the Republican Party, and its attendant Tea Party phenomenon, appear to champion smoke-stack economic tactics that consider public programs and investments in institutions like education and child care as impediments to corporate growth. Gov. Haley Barbour, in defending the state’s need to protect its reserve fund, asked House legislators to remove see page 20

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AMILE WILSON

Lax on Corporation Taxes Along with low wages, Mississippi delivers cheap business opportunities to corporations with its generous corporate tax policy, which ranks as the 13th most favorable tax system in the nation for businesses in an index of fiscal year 2011 corporate tax rates. The tax rate may as well be zero in some cases. The Mississippi Legislature Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review released a January report showing that in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 80 percent of corporations doing business in Mississippi paid no state corporate income tax. In 2009, the number ticked up a tad, with 81 percent of corporations paying zero state income tax. These are not the little guys, PEER reports, but a ranking among the state’s largest for-profit corporations as assessed by payroll size. “In 2006, the Department of Revenue only recorded information for the top 130 for-profit employers, but of these 130 employers, 91 did not pay state corporate income tax,” PEER stated, responding to legislators’ request for an assessment of the state’s 150 largest for-profit corporations. “In 2007, 2008 and 2009, 103 of the 150 largest for-profit employers paid zero state income taxes.” “This is a slap in the face of people who work every day, who provide for their families and who pay their taxes,” said Gary Anderson, the state’s former chief fiscal officer,

ADAM LYNCH

AFL-CIO’s claims. Dotson told the Jackson Free Press last month that the department keeps a list of annual workrelated deaths from each state, but said they do not run a comparison between states with anti-union laws and those without them. However the characterization, there is no disguising the resemblance between former slave states and current antiunion, right-to-work states. Although right-to-work laws pepper some western states that did not exist at the time of the Civil War, as well as some northern states, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and the Carolinas—all of the secession states, in fact—embrace anti-union laws as a natural type of evolution from a slave-based economy. Atkins said many of the high-profile employers the state managed to snag, even recently, sought to take advantage of the state’s right-to-work status. “Even though we’re all happy about the automobile industry with Nissan and Toyota plants opening up in Canton and the Northeast, they came here trying to avoid unions, and to pay some of the cheapest wages and offer the least benefits for car manufacturers, which have had the effect of lowering wages across the country,” Atkins said.”

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$77 million from the state’s education as chairman of the Republican Governors and mental-health budgets in March. Association, are watching the South and Barbour criticized the House Democrats rubbing their chins in hungry speculation. budget compromise proposal for spending Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott $500 million in non-recurring revenue on Walker capitalized on his state’s $3.6 billion recurring expenses next year, leaving only shortfall for the next two years by passing $155 million in reserve funds for 2013. legislation through a Republican-dominated House ApproLegislature that dispriations Committee penses with colChairman Johnny lective bargaining Stringer, D-Montrose, for Wisconsin state and a majority of employees. the House ApproThe new law, priations Committee which also requires took the easy route almost all publicby refusing to budge sector employees to on the cuts. pay more into their “After watching retirement pensions public schools across and health insurance, Mississippi struggle also strips them to survive from $300 of their ability to million in budget collectively bargain cuts the past three for wages not already years, I and other Mississippi Alliance of State Employees linked to inflation. state House members President Brenda Scott said the state Wisconsin is a do not—and will has rarely welcomed labor organizing. bastion for the labornot—support the friendly movement, additional budget unlike the South. cuts proposed by Gov. Barbour,� Stringer Wisconsin Democrats, seeing they were said in a March 23 statement. outnumbered by Republicans in a vote House leaders were furious in the that would alienate them from their laborwaning days of the legislative session in supporting constituents, fled to neighboring March because Barbour had called in from Illinois in hopes of blocking a quorum and another state to inform them that they had preventing the passage of the bill. While not cut enough from the state’s public- they were gone, state employees and their education program—a program that House supporters packed the Wisconsin Capitol Education Committee Chairman Cecil with protests that made Wisconsin ground Brown, D-Jackson, complained had already zero for the age-old union vs. bosses fight suffered $300 million in reductions over the that had never taken root in the South. last few years. Republican lawmakers changed the bill “The House and the Senate have already to not require a quorum vote, and then passed voted on an education bill. We agreed on it without their Democratic counterparts, that number, but Barbour wants us to cut it despite the massive media-grabbing protests. more, and we can’t do that,� Brown said. “He Democratic Dane County District Attorney wanted $77 million in additional budget Ismael Ozanne filed a lawsuit claiming cuts, we gave him $37 million in additional Republicans ducked Wisconsin opencuts, trying to compromise with him, but meetings laws by passing the law and that it he wants to specifically cut education and is therefore void. mental health, and we’ve told him we’re not A Dane County Circuit Court judge going to destroy our school system to put agreed and ordered Secretary of State Doug money in the state’s reserve fund.� La Follette not to publish the law. The Brown said cuts to education means tax Wisconsin Department of Justice appealed increases on the local level, as districts hike the temporary restraining order up to property taxes to cover education shortfalls, Wisconsin Supreme Court, which had not and that the poorer districts will suffer more ruled on the matter by April 5. than the districts with healthy tax revenue. Walker, meanwhile, praised the bill as Both Brown and Stringer complained a new effort to get spending in Wisconsin that Barbour was out of town as the March back under control, saying “the state’s 26 deadline on signing the bill crept to a broke,� and that the union presence cost close. The governor, the representatives the state too much in pay and benefits. complained, was out of state working with He used the state’s deficit as a cause, even people with similar budget-busting priorities. though Walker had no issue with budget Last month, Barbour and Mississippi House shortfalls when he signed into law a series Democrats settled on a budget plan that of tax cuts that Milwaukee’s WITI-TV says reduces the state’s K-12 education budget by will add “$117 million to the state’s budget $14 million below 2011 funding levels. problem over the next two years.� Michigan is another union stalwart, Dixie Whistling Northward with a governor who critics say is leaning on Barbour’s presence is much in demand the poor to make life better for corporations. among Republican circles outside the South. Some northern state governors, many see page 22 elected with the help of Barbour’s influence COURTESY BRENDA SCOTT

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Jackson labor supporters Pitiya Selvanayagan, left, and Carrie Wong protest Wisconsin Republicans’ move to bust labor unions in March.

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Michigan League for Human Services heavily criticizes Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to cut the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit. “The Michigan EITC keeps 25,000 people in working families out of poverty, including 14,000 children,” MLHS said in a March 15 statement. “Ending the EITC will push these children into poverty and worsen poverty for 700,000 people.” The league added that Snyder’s overall tax proposal is “10 times harder on poor families than that of wealthy families, mainly because of the elimination of the EITC.” The Snyder plan, they say, reduces taxes on business by 86 percent, while increasing taxes paid by individuals up 31 percent. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released its own data in March showing that Snyder’s plan increases the tax burden upon the lowest 20 percent income households earning less than $17,000 by 1.1 percent, but only increases the personal income taxes of the state’s wealthiest individuals, (those earning $335,000 or more) by 0.1 percent. Rozman said the changes in Wisconsin, Michigan and some other states signal the spread of age-old southern tradition, which never squared happily with the New Deal or the middle class. “The New Deal is unraveling, and there’s no side defending it anymore,” Rozman said. “Democrats do not really have a left wing in this country anymore. Labor was destroyed and its numbers went down dramatically, and the Democratic Party moved to the center, or even center right. There are individual progressives, but there is no clear message that people are able to identify.” It’s not really a difficult thing to defend. People generally say government is spending too much, but when you ask them what programs they want cut, they generally choose chimerical budget sinkholes that never made a difference in the first place. “Usually, they choose things like foreign aid—like it takes up 25 percent of the government, even though it’s more like 25 percent of 1 percent of the budget, something like that,” Rozman said.

“They want to cut in general and in principal, but when you use specifics, no. They defend it. They defend public education. They defend Social Security, all the government safety-net programs, despite Republicans’ increasing call to cut programs to reduce the (federal) deficit.” Senior-citizen advocate group AARP conducted an opinion poll on the 75th anniversaries of Social Security’s founding and learned that people still have high regard for Roosevelt’s program and most adults (seven in 10, actually) strongly oppose cutting spending on Social Security, even if the cuts serve to reduce the federal deficit. A March Bloomberg News National poll revealed that the public overwhelmingly opposed significantly cutting education programs, including No Child Left behind, Head Start and subsidies for college loans by 77 percent. Seventy-six percent of people polled also opposed reducing benefits for Medicare, and 62 percent opposed significantly cutting the much disparaged Environmental Protection Agency. But while the masses appear to want to preserve social programs, the leaders of the movement to remove the New Deal—to essentially southernize the North—have an easier time of tearing down things as complicated and multi-faceted as a federal budget, and the Democrats don’t have a clear game plan to defend the sand castle. “It’s very difficult to be pragmatic in the face of true believers, the ones who are behind the demolition of the Deal, who know exactly what they want, which is to be the ‘Party of No,’ to destroy what exists and create a survival-of-the-fittest society,” Rozman said. Meanwhile, Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist whose firm Barbour, Griffith and Rogers earned millions peddling the interests of corporations, is touching down in the Midwest and other spots this month, selling to American voters what appears to be an increasingly popular southern strategy of a different bent. His next appearance could be the White House. Brace yourself, Yolanda. Comment at www.jfp.ms.


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by Natalie A. Collier

April 6 - 12, 2011

ROBERT HUGGINS

COURTESY SONIA SANCHEZ

L

ike Halley’s Comet, it might happen at most twice in a lifetime, where two of the most widely recognized names in poetry come together at the same time and place to enlighten and inspire. That time is this weekend. Get outside, because the stars are shooting: Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka are coming. This year marks Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center’s fifth Creative Arts Festival, and nationally and internationally acclaimed authors Sanchez and Baraka are two of the speIn his quest to cial guests. Neither of these demystify America, poet Amiri Baraka seminal artists are has not shied away strictly poets; they from controversy are students of so- or challenge. ciology, history, human nature and, finally, they are social commentators. And while this writer interviewed the two separately, their spirits are kindred. Both friends of writer and poet Margaret Walker Alexander, who lived and worked in Jackson for years, Baraka and Sanchez are just as important to the American literary landscape as Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson but aren’t recognized as such nearly enough. That might be by design. Baraka, who came into America’s consciousness in 2001, after a poem he’d penned about the Sept. 11 attacks titled “Somebody Blew Up America,” says those who run the literary councils of the United States advertise poetry as an intimidating literary genre. “(They) really like to push poetry as very indirect, very abstract, very formal. And so anything that speaks directly to the world—what’s happening in the world— they feel intimated by, and they try to keep a majority of Americans from understanding what poetry is really about,” he says. “(Poetry is) supposed to clarify the world, not make it more abstract. … It’s like the economy: A few people got it, and the rest of the people don’t.” But just like any vanguard, this alleged fact doesn’t keep either of them from pro26 ducing. “It just means you’ll stay poor for

Sonia Sanchez has left an indelible mark in American literature, as she embraces black, urban language and uses it in her work.

the rest of your life,” Baraka says, only half joking. Most recently, Sanchez, known for her adherence to structural poetic form, published her 18th book, “Morning Haiku.” She chose haiku, three-line poems, because the haiku “makes us be mindful of ourselves, our beauty, our non-beauty, and it makes us be careful with our tongues.” “Careful,” however, does not mean there is no room for a poet to be challenging. Baraka lost his Poet Laureate of New Jersey distinction after some people took offense to four lines in “Somebody Blew Up America,” as anti-Semitic. To handle that, he says, one develops a defensive posture. “What we learn when we defy ‘the power’ is just how effective that power is (when) used against you,” Baraka explains. Sanchez, who has also inspired her share of provocation as one of the first poets to use urban language in her written works,

championed having black-studies programs on college campuses and taught the premiere seminar on black American women in the country. She says it’s a part of the call of a poet. “What we attempt to do—we poets—is to do what Frantz Fanon said … to hold one’s self like a sliver to the heart of the world; to interrupt, if necessary, the rhythm of the world; to upset, if necessary, the chain of command … I do battle for the creation of a human world,” she says. “So what we’ve attempted to (do) as poets, is to answer the question ‘What does it mean to be human?’” But the duo not only reflects about humanity but the black experience. The theme for the Creative Arts Festival is “The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides,” and Baraka says the difference between now and 50 years ago is surface change. “The dialogue has changed; names

of certain things have changed; but, in essence, racism is still very much in place in the United States. And it’s even gotten more surly since Obama’s been there, because they believe they can use Obama’s presence to mask the fact that there’s a vicious kind of racist recidivism going on in the United States. … The tea party is proof.” Sanchez adds: “It’s the poet’s job to not only to learn the form but to transform the form. Transformation is inevitable. That’s what I’m doing here. Transforming.” In addition to Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, featured guests at the Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center’s Creative Arts Festival April 8 and 9 include Jackson State University professor and poet C. Liegh McInnis, JSU graduate and hip-hopologist Charlie Braxton and Chezia Thompson-Cager. To see a complete schedule of events, visit www.jsums.edu/ margaretwalker/artsfestival2011.


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BEST BETS April 6 - 13, 2011 by Latasha Willis events@jacksonfreepress.com Fax: 601-510-9019 Daily updates at jfpevents.com

WEDNESDAY 4/6

COURTESY STEVE JOHNSON

Robert Luckett of Jackson State University talks about Margaret Walker Alexander during History Is Lunch at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.) at noon. Bring a lunch; call 601-576-6998. … Perry and Carroll perform at Hal & Mal’s. … “A Soldier’s Play” at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.) is at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 17. $25, $22 students/seniors; call 601-9483533. … Doug Frank’s Wednesday Nite Jam at Center Stage is at 7:30 p.m. Free. … The Intellectual Bulimics perform at Fenian’s at 9 p.m. Free; email ghettohippie1@hotmail.com. … Poets II has music with DJ Phingaprint. . . . . Swing de Paris plays gypsy jazz at Underground 119.

FRIDAY 4/8

The McAlister’s Deli Tea for Tots Golf Classic at Annandale Golf Club (419 Annandale Parkway, Madison) kicks off at 8 a.m. $1,000 team, $10 tea party; call 601-992-3556. … The Creative Arts Festival at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.) begins at 1 p.m. and runs through April 9. Free; call 601-979-3935. … Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka read poems and sign books at Afrika Book Café (404 Mitchell Ave.) at 6 p.m. Book prices vary; email afrikabookcafe@gmail. com. … Reed Pierce’s has music by the Tommy Akers Band. … See the films “The Last Lions” and “Harvest” at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) April 8-9 at 7 p.m. $7 per film; visit msfilm.org. … U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson speaks at the JSU alumni scholarship banquet at Mississippi e-Center (1230 Raymond Road) at 7 p.m. $30, $180 tables; call 601-688-2064 or 601-331-3278. … Set the Controls plays at Fire at 8 p.m. $10. … Martini Room at the Regency Hotel hosts Martini Friday at 9 p.m. Free.

SATURDAY 4/9

The Natchez Trace Century Ride starts at Old Trace Park (Post Road, Ridgeland) at 7:30 a.m. $45; visit natchezcenturyride.racesonline.com. … Olde Towne Market in downtown Clinton is at 9 a.m. Call 601-924-5472. … The Gathering on the Green at the Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.) is at 10 a.m. Free admission; call 601-576-6920. … NatureFEST! at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive) is at 10 a.m. $6, $5 seniors, $4 children 3-18, members/children under 3 free; call 601-354-7303. … The grand opening celebration of Fondren Park (Northview Drive and Dunbar St.) is at 3:30 p.m. Free; call 601-981-9606. … Ralph Miller performs at Huntington Grille from 6-9 p.m. … The Magnolia State Showcase and Dance at Madison Square Center for the Arts (2103 Main St., Madison) is at 6:50 p.m. $15; call 601-942-0103. … Mississippi Opera presents “The Barber of Seville” at Thalia Mara Hall at 7:30 p.m. $25-$60; call 601-960-2300. … Stevie J & the Blues Eruption is at F. Jones Corner from 11:30 p.m.-4 a.m. $5. Stevie J & the Blues Eruption performs at 11:30 p.m. April 9 at F. Jones Corner.

April 6 - 12, 2011

See the film “Unnatural Causes” at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.) in the JSU Student Lobby at 12:30 p.m. Free; call 601-979-8806. … Fondren After 5 is from 5-8 p.m. Free; call 601-981-9606. … Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder perform at Jackson Academy (4908 Ridgewood Road) at 7 p.m. $30-$40; call 601-364-5416. … The artists reception for Jacques Soulas and Nancy Dawes at Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., Suite 101) is at 5 p.m. Free; call 601-366-8833. … Akami Graham performs during Centric Thursday at Dreamz JXN. … The musical “Bye Bye Birdie” at Black Rose Community Theatre (103 Black St., Brandon) is at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 17. $15, $10 seniors/students; call 601-825-1293. … The Fearless Four per28 form at Hal & Mal’s.

The Township at Colony Park’s (Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland) jazz festival is at noon. Free; call 601-368-9950 or 601-856-6001. … The grand opening of Black Diamond (5015 Interstate 55 N., next to Sam’s Lounge) is at noon. Call 601-982-9437. … The Blásta Wine Tasting at Fenian’s is at 2 p.m. $25 in advance, $35 at the door, $25 Celtic Heritage Society members; call 601-366-6644 or 601-948-0055. … See the Shakespeare film “As You Like It” at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) at 2 p.m. $16; visit msfilm.org. … The Detectives Mystery Theatre presents “Marvelous Murder” at Giovanni’s (640 Grants Ferry Road, Flowood) at 8 p.m. $36; call 601-291-7444.

MONDAY 4/11

Hope Hollow Golf Classic at Reunion Golf and Country Club (880 Mannsdale Road, Madison) is at 11:30 a.m. $600 four-man team, $150 hole sponsorship; call 601-506-6293. … Mary Helen Stefaniak signs copies of “The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia” at Lemuria Books (202 Banner Hall, 4465 Interstate 55 N.) at 5 p.m. Call 601-366-7619.

TUESDAY 4/12

The Save Our Sea (Food) Annieglass Trunkshow at Batte Furniture (1010 E. Northside Drive) is at 11 a.m. Call 646277-7110. … Freedom Riders speak at the Robert Clark Symposium at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.) at 6 p.m. Free; call 601-979-3935.

WEDNESDAY 4/13

Author Jeff Giambrone and Hap Owen speak at History Is Lunch at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.) at noon. Bring lunch; call 601-576-6998. More events and details at jfpevents.com. Cody Cox performs April 11 at Mint. LACEY MCLAUGHLIN

THURSDAY 4/7

SUNDAY 4/10


jfpevents Radio JFP on WLEZ ongoing, at WLEZ 100.1 FM and wlezfm.com. Join Donna Ladd and Todd Stauffer from noon-1 p.m. every Thursday, as they discuss vital issues and play local music. JFP sports writer Bryan Flynn also gives commentary at 12:45 p.m. Listen to podcasts of all shows at jfpradio.com. Free; call 601-362-6121, ext. 17. Fondren After 5 April 7, 5 p.m. The monthly event showcases shops, galleries and restaurants of the Fondren neighborhood. Free; call 601-981-9606. An Evening of Hope with Nicole Marquez April 16, 7 p.m., at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). The event includes hors d’oeuvres, a signature drink, a cash bar, an art auction and music by Rhonda Richmond. Proceeds benefit the Ask for More Arts initiative, a schoolcommunity-arts partnership sponsored by Parents for Public Schools. $50; call 601-969-6015. Magnolia Roller Vixens Roller Derby April 16, 7 p.m., at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). The team takes on the Southern Misfits. Doors open at 6 p.m. $50 season passes are available ($20 for children). $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 children; call 601-376-9122. Mississippi Happening ongoing. Guaqueta Productions hosts the broadcast, featuring musical guest. Download free podcasts at mississippihappening.com.

COMMUNITY National Start! Walking Day April 6. Join Mississippians in the movement to start working toward a healthy lifestyle and take at least 30 minutes out of the day to walk. Visit startwalkingnow.org. Events at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.) in the Community Meeting Room. • Parents for Public Schools Lunch Bunch April 6, 11:45 a.m. The topic is the Ask for More Arts initiative. RSVP. $5 lunch; call 601-969-6015, ext 320. • Economic Security Financial Forum April 7, 5:30 p.m. The theme is “Learn How to Build Wealth and Get Out of Debt.” Get tips on loan requirements, home ownership and self-employment. Refreshments and door prizes included. Free; call 601-898-0326. • UMMC Blood Drive April 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mississippi Blood Services is taking donations. Please bring ID. Free; call 601-984-2884. • History Is Lunch April 6, noon, at William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.). Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Alexander Center at JSU, talks about the life and work of Margaret Walker Alexander. Bring a lunch; coffee/water provided. Free; call 601-576-6998. Business and Technology Expo April 7, 7:30 a.m., at Mississippi Trade Mart (1200 Mississippi St.). Mississippi Business Journal is the host. The event includes more than 100 exhibits, a business breakfast with “The Biggest Loser” winner Patrick House as the keynote speaker, the Top 40 Under 40 awards luncheon, free seminars and more. Free with a business card; call 601-364-1000. Information Session April 7, 5:30 p.m., at Belhaven University (1500 Peachtree St.), in the McCarvey Triplett Student Center, second floor theater. Learn about Belhaven’s master of education, master of arts in teaching, P.A.C.E. and teacher certification. Refreshments served; RSVP. Call 601-968-8947. Events at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.). • International Week through April 8. The event is a celebration of cultural diversity and includes the Parade of Flags and the International Bazaar April 6, the International Night of Dance April 7 and the International Scholarship Banquet April 8. International Film Festival is April 4-8 in the Student Center Theatre. Visit jsums.edu/intweek

for details. $50, $500 table of 10 for banquet; other events free; call 601-979-3796. • Creative Arts Festival April 8-9, at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.). “The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides” exhibits visual arts, spoken word, performing arts and creative writing by students. Presenters include Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Charlie Braxton and C. Liegh McInnis. Chezia Thompson Cager-Strand gives a poetic tribute to Margaret Walker Alexander with musical accompaniment by KERQ. Hours are 1-8 p.m. April 8 and 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. April 9. Free; call 601-979-3935. • Robert Clark Symposium April 12, 6 p.m., at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.), in room 166/266 of the Dollye M.E. Robinson College of Liberal Arts. The event features a roundtable discussion on the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides with Freedom Riders Hank Thomas, Lewis Zuchman, Mary Lee and Hezekiah Watkins. Free; call 601-979-3935. Getting Started: Establishing a 501(c)(3) April 8, 10 a.m., at Mississippi Center for Nonprofits (921 N. President St., Suite C). Learn the basics of forming a nonprofit organization and how to fill out Form 1023. MCN executive director Mark McCrary is the presenter. Registration required. $79; call 601-968-0061. Reduce and Restore Workshop April 8, 10 a.m., at The Pilates Place of Mississippi (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suites 150 and 156). Allison Evans and Kelly Blackstone of Three Branches Healthy Living speak about the negative effects of chemicals in everyday products and healthier alternatives. $25; visit threebrancheshealth.com. Scholarship Banquet April 8, 7 p.m., at Mississippi e-Center (1230 Raymond Road). U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson is the speaker. Proceeds benefit the Jackson-Hinds chapter of the JSU National Alumni Association’s scholarship program for graduating high school seniors. $30, $180 tables; call 601-6882064 or 601-331-3278.

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Shine 2011 with Pinelake Church April 9. Church members and friends will complete beautification projects throughout metro Jackson. Call or go online to register and be assigned to a work location. Call 601-829-4500; visit pinelake.org/shine. Ride for CST Motorcycle Ride and Poker Run April 9, 7:30 a.m., at Got Gear Motorsports (230 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland). Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Proceeds benefit the 47th Civil Support Team Family Readiness Group. $40 per bike; call 601-624-5293. Natchez Trace Century Ride April 9, 7:30 a.m., at Old Trace Park (Post Road, Ridgeland). Ride bikes on Natchez Trace Parkway. Choose from distances of 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles. Rest stops have refreshments. T-shirt and post-ride meal are included. $45; visit natchezcenturyride.racesonline.com. Monarch Festival April 9-16, at Clinton Community Nature Center (617 Dunton Road). The festival includes a monarch rescue, a festival, a photography exhibit, a haiku contest, lectures and adoptions. Times and locations vary. Call 601-926-1104. Spiritual Health and Wellness Awareness Conference April 9, 9 a.m., at Enoch Grove Missionary Baptist Church (352 E. Mountain Creek Road, Florence). The event includes health screenings and presentations from the Family Health Care Clinic, the Jackson Heart Study, the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, the American Cancer Society and more. Refreshments included. Free; call 601-8240078 or 601-981-8330. NatureFEST! April 9, 10 a.m., at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). Interact with animals, dig for fossils, explore the “Amazing Butterflies” exhibit, take behindthe-scenes tours of the museum’s collections and research labs, and explore the trails and native plant

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garden. Presenters include bat expert Rob Mies and Terry “Snake Man” Vandeventer. $6, $5 seniors, $4 children 3-18, members/children under 3 free; call 601-354-7303. Gathering on the Green April 9, 10 a.m., at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Enjoy fun, food and other festivities on the historic Old Capitol Green. Free admission; call 601-576-6920. Fondren Park Grand Opening Celebration April 9, 3:30 p.m., at Fondren Park (Northview Drive and Dunbar St.). Enjoy refreshments, live music and a movie on the pavilion stage at dark. Attendees can also sign up to join the Fondren Park Neighborhood Association. Free; call 601-9819606. Parent/Guardian Education Advocacy Training April 9, 11 a.m., at Lumpkin’s BBQ (182 Raymond Road). Sessions are held the second Saturday of each month, and the topic varies. This month’s focus is bullying prevention. Lunch provided; please RSVP. Free; call 877-892-2577. Blásta Wine Tasting April 10, 2 p.m., at Fenian’s Pub (901 E. Fortification St.). Sample affordable wines from Wine & Spirits in the Quarter. Hors d’oeuvres included. Participants receive a Schott Zwiesel titanium crystal glass as a keepsake. Proceeds benefit CelticFest Mississippi. $25 in advance, $35 at the door, $25 Celtic Heritage Society members; call 601-366-6644 or 601-948-0055. Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) Awards April 11, 11:30 a.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). During the luncheon, Mississippians who have given exemplary volunteer service to their communities are honored. $30; call 601-432-6306. Jackson Symphony League Spring Luncheon April 12, 11:00 a.m., at The South (627 E. Silas Brown St.). Annie Morhauser of Annieglass will treat guests to an in-depth look at the art of glass making and will feature some of her collectibles. $40; call 601-502-6668. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Campaign April 13, 10 a.m., at Mississippi State Capitol (400 High St.), on the south lawn. Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault kicks off their campaign against sexual and gender violence. Men are encouraged to walk a mile in high heels. Call 601-948-0555.

FARMERS’ MARKETS Olde Towne Market April 9, 9 a.m., in downtown Clinton. Vendors sell fresh produce, handmade crafts and more. This month’s theme is “Spring into Green,” featuring the Caterpillar Parade and emphasizing recycled art. Call 601-924-5472. Byram Farmers Market (20 Willow Creek Lane, Byram), through Oct. 29. The market is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Products include fresh produce, wildflower honey, roasted peanuts, jams, jellies, birdhouses, baskets and gourds for crafting. Call 601-373-4545.

April 6 - 12, 2011

Mississippi Farmers Market (929 High St.), through Dec. 17. Shop for fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, specialty foods, and crafts from local artisans, including the Greater Belhaven Market. The market is open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Call 601-354-6573.

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Jackson Roadmap to Health Equity Project’s Farmers’ Market (2548 Livingston Road) April 5-Dec. 17. Buy from a wide selection of fresh produce provided by participating local farmers. WIC vouchers are accepted, and chefs will be on hand to give cooking demonstrations with WIC products. Hours are 9-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Call 601-987-6783. Old Fannin Road Farmers’ Market (1307 Old Fannin Road, Brandon), through Dec. 24. Farmers sell homegrown produce Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Call 601-919-1690.

STAGE AND SCREEN “Unnatural Causes” Film Screening April 7, 12:30 p.m., at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.), in the JSU Student Lobby. The Jackson State University School of Health Sciences is the host. Refreshments served. Free; call 601-982-8467. “Bye Bye Birdie” April 7-17, at Black Rose Community Theatre (103 Black St., Brandon). The musical is about the escapades of an Elvis-like rock ’n’ roll star. Show times are 7:30 p.m. ThursdaySaturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $15, $10 seniors and students; call 601-825-1293. 10-Minute Play Project April 8-9, at Vicksburg Theatre Guild/Parkside Playhouse (101 Iowa Blvd., Vicksburg). Writers, directors and actors write and rehearse short original works April 8 at 7 p.m. Performance is April 9 at 7:30 p.m. Free participation, $5 play; call 601-636-0471. “Dancing the Blues” April 8-9, at Southern Cultural Heritage Center (1302 Adams St., Vicksburg). The spring performance of the Vicksburg Performing Arts Company (VPAC) is a blues journey through dance that includes ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre and African dancing. $10 in advance, $12 at the door; call 601-218-5557. Spring Dance Concert April 8-9, at Belhaven University, Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center (1500 Peachtree St.). The event features a restaging of Martha Graham’s “Panorama,” classical and contemporary ballet, modern dance and cultural dance. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. $10, $5 seniors and students, free for children and Belhaven faculty, staff and students.; call 601-965-1400. Magnolia State Showcase and Dance April 9, 6:50 p.m., at Madison Square Center for the Arts (2103 Main St., Madison). Attorney John Reeves is the emcee of the second annual event where 25 amateurs are paired with ballroom dance professionals to perform the tango, the two-step, the cha-cha and more. A general ballroom dance for everyone follows the performances. $15; call 601-942-0103. “Scrappers” Film Screening April 12, 7 p.m., at Millsaps College, Ford Academic Complex (1701 N. State St.), in room 215. The film about two metal scavengers explores the 2008 financial collapse and issues such as immigration and poverty. Producers/directors Brian Ashby and Ben Kolak will be on hand to answer questions. The event is part of the Southern Circuit Film Series. Free; call 601-974-1384. “A Soldier’s Play” through April 17, at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). The mystery-thriller tracks the investigation of a murder in 1944 at Fort Neal, a segregated army camp in Louisiana. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $25, $22 seniors/students; call 601-948-3533.

MUSIC Events at Jackson Academy (4908 Ridgewood Road). Call 601-364-5416. • Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder April 7, 7 p.m. The legendary country singer and his band performs as part of the Signature Artist Series. $30-$40. • MAIS Concert Band Festival April 8, 9 a.m. Concert bands from independent schools, including Jackson Academy, Jackson Prep and Hillcrest Christian School perform. Free. American Guild of Organists Concert April 8, 7:30 p.m., at Tougaloo College, Woodworth Chapel (500 W. County Line Road, Tougaloo). Vocalist Rebecca Wascoe and organist Len Bobo perform. . Free; call 601-362-3235. “The Barber of Seville” April 9, 7:30 p.m., at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). The opera follows the escapades of the leading character Figaro, the town’s premier barber and foremost

expert in matchmaking and problem solving. $25$60; call 601-960-2300. Township Jazz Festival April 10, noon, at The Township at Colony Park (Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Performers include Mose Allison, Knight Bruce featuring Lisa Palmer, Raphael Semmes, the Fusion All Stars, the Vamps and student groups such as the JSU Jazz Ensemble. Refreshments sold. Free; call 601-368-9950 or 601856-6001. Chamber Singers Concert April 10, 3 p.m., at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church (5400 Old Canton Road). Millsaps College’s 19-voice auditioned touring choir and the St. Philip’s Episcopal choir present Handel’s “Messiah,” parts II and III, with an orchestra. Seating is limited. Free; call 601-974-1422.

LITERARY AND SIGNINGS Events at Lemuria Books (202 Banner Hall, 4465 Interstate 55 N.). Call 601-366-7619. • “Evil Eye” April 6, 5 p.m. Jason Goodwin signs copies of his book; reading at 5:30 p.m. $26 book. • “Yvette Sturgis” April 8, 5 p.m. Yvette Sturgis signs copies of her book. $35 book. • “Return to the Southern Wild” April 9, 1 p.m. Joe Mac Hudspeth signs copies of his book. $40 book. • “The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia” April 11, 5 p.m. Mary Helen Stefaniak signs copies of her book. $24.95 book. • “Monkey See, Monkey Draw” April 12, 4 p.m. Alex Beard signs copies of his book. $16.95 book. • “A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home” April 13, 5 p.m., Martha Hall Foose signs copies of her book; reading at 5:30 p.m. $32.50 book. Chapter 1 Book Club Meeting April 7, 6:30 p.m., at Pearl Public Library (2416 Old Brandon Road, Pearl). This month’s book is “North Toward Home” by Willie Morris. Door prizes included. Free; call 601-932-2562. Poetry Reading and Book Signing April 8, 6 p.m., at Afrika Book Cafe (404 Mitchell Ave.). Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka will sign copies of their books. Featured poets include C.Leigh McInnis and Charlie Braxton. Book prices vary; e-mail afrikabookcafe@gmail.com. “Chronosia” April 9, 2 p.m., at Cups Crossgates (1450 W. Government St., Suite D, Brandon). Glen Stripling signs copies of his book. $12.79 book; call 601-825-3208.

CREATIVE CLASSES Classes at Viking Cooking School (Township at Colony Park, 1107 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Call 601-898-8345. • Gluten-Free Gourmet April 6, 6 p.m. Topics covered in the class include working with gluten-free ingredients, preparing homemade pasta, baking bread, making compound butter and baking, filling and icing cupcakes. $89. • Cupcakes and Cake Balls April 9, 9 a.m. Learn how to make, bake and decorate cupcakes with buttercream, cream cheese and fondant, and how to make cake balls in your favorite flavors. $135. Classes at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.). Call 601-974-1130. • Basic Gardening Class April 7, 5 p.m. Gail Barton will discuss and demonstrate common gardening tasks such as planting and pruning. $30. • Easy Color in the Garden Class April 7, 7 p.m., at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.). Gail Barton shares tips on low-maintenance landscape design and flowers that are good for cutting or attracting butterflies. $30. Scrapbooking Basics April 11, 7 p.m., at Flowood Library (103 Winners Circle, Flowood). Learn how

to scrapbook to preserve family photos. For adults only. Free; call 601-919-1911.

EXHIBITS AND OPENINGS Pieces of the Past: Casualties of War through April 10, at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this rotating exhibit features a prosthetic leg and amputation tools. Free; call 601-576-6920. New Orleans Artists Reception April 7, 5 p.m., at Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., Suite 101). See paintings by Jacques Soulas and Nancy Dawes. Free; call 601-366-8833. Save Our Sea (Food) Annieglass Trunk Show April 12, 11 a.m., at Batte Furniture (1010 E. Northside Drive). See Annie Morhauser’s Seafood Watch collection of marine-inspired pieces. During the wine-and-cheese reception from 4-6 p.m., Morhauser will introduce her collection, talk about seafood choices and offer recipe ideas. Proceeds from sales benefit the Seafood Watch program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Call 646-277-7110. Power APAC Student Exhibit through April 29, at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Winners will be announced at reception April 10 at 1 p.m. Hours are Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Free; call 601-960-1557. FIGMENT Art Festival Call for Entries. FIGMENT, a free, family-friendly interactive arts event, seeks artists and volunteers for the May 14-15 festival at The Plant (1424 Highway 80 W.). Artists may showcase sculpture, performance, music, workshops, games, experiences, two-dimensional works, site-specific pieces or a combination. Works that encourage participation and interactivity are particularly welcome. Deadline for submissions is April 15. Free; call 601-960-1557 or 646-391-4729. “Amazing Butterflies” through May 8, at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). The exhibit created by The Natural History Museum in London in collaboration with Minotaur Mazes invites you to shrink down into the undergrowth to become one of the most extraordinary creatures on earth. $6, $5 seniors, $4 children ages 5-18, $1 children ages 3-4; call 601-354-7303. Check jfpevents.com for updates and more listings. To add an event, email all details (phone number, start and end date, and time, street address, cost, URL, etc.) to events@jacksonfreepress.com or fax to 601510-9019. The deadline is noon the Thursday prior to the week of publication. Or add the event online yourself; check out jfpevents.com for instructions.

BE THE CHANGE McAllister’s Deli Tea for Tots Golf Classic April 8, 8 a.m., at Annandale Golf Club (419 Annandale Parkway, Madison). The event includes an 18-hole tournament, a tea party, a performance by the Bells of Faith and more. Proceeds benefit The Mustard Seed. $1000 team, $10 tea party; call 601-992-3556. Sante South Wine Festival April 9, 7 p.m., at The South (627 E. Silas Brown St.). More than 30 vintners of fine wines offer samples. Food, live music and a silent auction included. Proceeds benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi. $70; call 601-987-0020. Hope Hollow Golf Classic April 11, 11:30 a.m., at Reunion Golf and Country Club (880 Mannsdale Road, Madison). Lunch is at 11:30 a.m., and tee time is at 1 p.m. Proceeds benefit Hope Hollow Ministries, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities. $600 four-man team, $150 hole sponsorship; call 601-506-6293.


DIVERSIONS|music

E

very town has that guy, the one you go to who gets things done. He’s the man everyone turns to when they have problems. In Seville, he happens to be the barber. “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” they call out from every direction to get his attention. Mistaken identities, mistaken rooms and narrow escapes fill the three acts of Gioachino Antonio Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Mississippi Opera in a joint production with Opera Memphis will present the comic opera classic at 7:30 p.m. April 9 in Thalia Mara Hall. Jay Dean, artistic director of Mississippi Opera, last year visited Teatro Argentina in Rome, Italy, the historic theater where

The Key of G by Garrad Lee

‘A Natural Thing’

W

hen a black sergeant dies at Fort Neal, La., near the end of World War II, a complicated murder mystery begins. Was it a lynching or something more? The segregated Army of 1944 is the backdrop for Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “A Soldier’s Play.” New StageTheatre’s New Stage Theatre presents “A Soldier’s Play” April 5-17. production of the play runs April 5 through 17. The company’s artistic director, Francine Thomas Reynolds, directs the drama. “It is a tough, penetrating exploration of racial tensions and ambiguities among blacks, and between blacks and whites that gives no easy answers and assigns no simple blame,” Reynolds says in a release. “The play’s explosive examination of self-acceptance, traditional ideology, toughness and hope calls for a strong ensemble of actors ready to portray the drama’s complex characters. “ New Stage has planned several post-show forums to create a dialogue between the audiences and cast about the social issues and controversy the production addresses. New Stage Theatre presents “A Soldier’s Play” April 5-17 at Jane Reid-Petty Theatre Center (1100 Carlisle St.). Tickets are $25. For specific times and ticket information, call 601-948-3531 or visit newstagetheatre.com.

show to Martin’s April 9, giving Jackson music fans a rare opportunity to see a true innovator in person. Lyrics Born’s Jackson show is just one stop on the “As U Were” World Tour that will span the year. “The goal by the end of 2011 is to play the entire world, even if it is under water. I’m ready to party with Jackson,” Lyrics Born says. Lyrics Born performs with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, BoomBox and more at Martin’s Soldier Salute on April 9. Gates open at 4 p.m., tickets are $20 in advance from Ticketmaster and $25 the day of the show. All proceeds go to Trail of Honor to benefit American veterans. COURTESY LYRICS BORN

L

et’s start with a little history lesson. Back in the mid1990s, hip-hop was at a crossroads. Groups like Company Flow and Anticon were pushing the boundaries of the genre into avant-garde directions that challenged the foundations of what could even be comfortably considered hip-hop. One of the leaders of this charge was a collective called Solesides, later known as Quannum Spectrum, made up of underground heavyweights Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, and Latyrx. For subterranean heads at the time like myself, Solesides was on the soundtrack to our lives. Latyrx, made up of Lateef and Lyrics Born, in 1997 released one of the most groundbreaking hip-hop albums of all time, simply entitled “Latyrx: The Album.” If you know this record, you remember the first time you heard the opening track: a spacey DJ Shadow beat with Lateef and Lyrics Born rapping at the exact same time in a whirlwind of abstract lyricism that had not been heard before in hip-hop. Sample lyric from Lyrics Born: “‘Cuz I’ve walked on water weapons baby haven’t you heard? / I’ve authored songs on different planes and left the boundaries blurred / And I taught Neanderthal to use the rotary phone / I kicked the devil in his neck without my rosary on.” It’s ridiculously fresh 14 years later.

These days, Berkeley, Calif.-based Lyrics Born is still toeing the dividing line between hip-hop and other genres. His new record, “As U Were,” delves into a more melodic sphere that explores electro-pop themes while remaining true to his unique almost-singing-but-still-rapping style. The change in direction is “a natural thing, and also an intentional thing,” he says. “I’ve always been influenced by ’80s music, electro, modern soul and modern funk. I wanted to pay homage to that. I just wanted to try some things that had always been in the back of my mind. I just go with it. I don’t second guess it.” The change in direction will not surprise Lyrics Born’s fans, as each one of his solo albums has been a departure from the previous. “I have ADD. I admit it. I embrace it. I am not capable of making the same album twice. I’m not that type of dude,” he says. For Lyrics Born, “As U Were” is “a turning point” that represents the changes in his life “musically, personally, and spiritually.” Lyrically, “As U Were” is a reflection of the times in which we live. “I’ve seen a lot of really important and crucial changes around me, such as the economic downturn. All of these things affect the mood, message and subject matter of the things I write about,” he says. Along with the larger social issues Lyrics Born deals with, the album also features more personal themes inspired by some “changes in relationships” that he has experienced recently. Lyrics Born’s live shows are always hype affairs. The live band Keys N Krates is currently backing him, adding another layer to his diverse sound palette. He brings that

by Valerie Wells

Lyrics Born performs April 9 at Martin’s Soldier Salute.

jacksonfreepress.com

BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE

Composer Gioachino Rossini premiered “Barber of Seville” in 1816 in Rome, Italy.

Rossini premiered “The Barber of Seville” in 1816. He sees this production, a brainchild of the two companies’ previous artistic directors, as good business. “Partnerships are important to develop, inside Mississippi and outside. In this economy, it’s even more important to establish strategic alliances,” he said. “This happens in business all the time. You share resources, this company makes one part and that company makes another part.” Like Figaro, Dean is a matchmaker. As director of orchestral activities at the University of Southern Mississippi—a position he still holds—he brought the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Mississippi Opera together for productions of “La Traviata,” “Carmen” and “The Marriage of Figaro.” In 2010, Dean again collaborated with Mississippi Opera bringing Renee Fleming to the state to celebrate USM’s centennial and the opera company’s 65th anniversary. “Mississippi Opera is the 10th oldest opera company in the United States. It’s amazing that Jackson has this,” he said. The joint production travels to Cleveland, Miss., April 12 and then to Memphis, April 16 and 17. One of its stars is mezzosoprano Lester Senter, a Jackson favorite, says Elizabeth Bynum, executive director of Mississippi Opera. The opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles so the audience can catch every word. Dean likens “The Barber of Seville” to a Bob Hope musical. A count is in love with Rosina, who is already involved with another man. The count goes to Figaro asking him to get Rosina away from her lover. Figaro creates a scenario to rearrange this triangle. Dean envisions making opera accessible to every Mississippian through more collaborations. Mississippi Opera and Opera Memphis, present “The Barber of Seville” at 7:30 p.m. April 9 in Thalia Mara Hall. Tickets are $25 to $60. For information, call 601-960-2300 or visit www.msopera.org.

No Easy Answers NEW STAGE THEATRE

The Go-To Guy

by Valerie Wells

31


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venuelist

33


Eat Clean

read more Body&Soul stories and the blog at jacksonfreepress.com

by J. Ashley Nolen

The Whole Person Matters

34

FILE PHOTO

April 6 - 12, 2011

“T

he side effects of this medication may be difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, constipation…” Have you ever stopped to consider the harm many drugs can cause? A drug can cure one health condition only to give you another one. The list of side effects on prescription and overthe-counter drugs keeps lengthening, it seems, and some “side” effects can even be life threatening; more than 1.5 million Americans end up in the hospital every year due to adverse drug reactions and 100,000 people die, according to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. Naturopathic physicians take a different approach than traditional western medical doctors; they see and treat the whole body and not just one particular area. The five distinct aspects of a naturopathic practice are: causing no additional harm to the body; exercising nature’s healing power; treating the root cause of a health condition; recognizing the whole person instead of only a body part; and using the physician as a teacher. I have absolutely no medical knowledge, and I often find myself simply wanting my painful and obnoxious symptoms to disappear. In most general-medicine practices, the approach is usually doing whatever it takes to minimize and eliminate symptoms. Unfortunately, suppressing symptoms without dealing with the real problem can cause more harm to the body than good. Naturopathic physicians, however, believe it is vital to find the real cause of symptoms. Jennifer McKinley, a master herbalist and nutritional consultant in Oxford, believes that modern medicine has its place, but it also tends to cover things up. “They throw pills at the problem instead of finding the source. Natural medicine is about finding the source of why someone is having a particular issue and fixing that problem so the whole body is better,” McKinley says. Our bodies have a unique ability to heal, but self-created obstacles often handicap our immune systems. Naturopathic physicians encourage patients to let their bodies perform healing functions as they determine what harmful factors are compromising the process and what healthy elements should be added to a patient’s life. They recommend exercising and maintaining a healthy diet as first steps in naturopathy. McKinley believes strongly in maintaining a healthy, colorful diet and trying to eat as many organic foods as possible. It’s no secret that organic eating is sometimes costly, but McKinley cautions: “Whatever you aren’t willing to spend on your grocery bill will wind up on your medical bill.” Looking to natural remedies first, McKinley advises clients who suffer from severe headaches to drink more water, for example, as a throbbing head is often the first indication of dehydration. For extreme migraines, she encourages clients to eat a few bananas each day as a magnesium deficiency is often the cause. Naturopathic professionals adopt the idea that no illness of any magnitude happens without a direct cause. Symptoms are not the illness, but rather the body’s way of attempting to heal. According to the principles of naturopathy, no person can completely recover from an illness without identifying the underlying reasons. My body pays a toll, for example, when I am mentally distraught. Naturopathic physicians take this idea to the next level as they identify a patient as a whole person rather than just a collection of symptoms. In my case, instead of simply prescribing a pill to reduce anxiety, a naturopathic consultation would thoroughly dissect the physical, mental emotional and spiritual aspects leading to my complaint. Jerusha Stephens, the first licensed acupuncturist in the state of Mississippi, says that while acupuncture is its own field, it does share similarities with naturopathy, as it is also a completely natural approach. “The connectivity between our mind, body, and spirit is something that should not be ignored,” Stephens says. As a patient, I am often overwhelmed walking into a doctor’s office. I feel intimidated that he or she knows far more about my mysterious human body than I do. Naturopathic physicians work to bridge

this common gap by serving as a teacher, spending time with patients to help them gain an understanding of their body. “It is totally about education,” McKinley says, adding that those in naturopathy highly value prevention. They promote it by educating for healthy lifestyle decisions. Rather than fighting disease, naturopathic physicians believe that building strong health is the best approach to staying wholly healthy. Naturopathic physicians don’t turn a deaf ear to the list of harmful side effects of many leading prescription drugs. While they can and do use drugs as a last option, the main emphasis of naturopathy remains the use of natural healing agents.

Home Remedies Busted! Myth: Apply mayonnaise to a burn immediately after it occurs and leave on 10 minutes. Fact: Gross! Mayonnaise and other foods can actually breed bacteria and lengthen the healing process. Myth: Drink apple-cider vinegar for heartburn relief. Fact: While apple-cider vinegar aids in killing germs, growing hair and losing weight, it does not reduce heartburn. The

smell and taste alone should be enough to detour you from this false home treatment. Myth: Comb lemon juice through your hair; sit in the sun; get great highlights. Fact: Do what you want, but I recommend against going cheap with your crowning glory. Lemon juice lightens hair in the worst way possible, and may actually cause white, fried and dried blotches.

See more at oliciouslife.com/home-remedy-myths.

C

lean eating is not a particular diet, but rather a lifestyle with one main rule: Only eat foods that had a mother or that came directly from nature, according to Clean Eating Online (cleaneatingonline.com). By avoiding processed foods as much as possible, clean eating encourages the body to maintain a healthy balance and proper functioning. But, like with every eating plan, I had many questions and found the rules difficult to follow. A friend who always eats “from the earth” recommended I shop around my grocery store’s periphery where I find the fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats. I have found this specific approach to be one of the best guides to eating clean depending, of course, on how the particular store tries to entice us. —AN

Alternative Pain Relief

T

he fear of needles is widespread, and may prevent patients from experiencing gratifying, drug-free pain relief. Acupuncture is “the practice of inserting needles into the body to reduce pain or induce anesthesia.” Research has found acupuncture to provide relief from issues like migraines, dental pain, menstrual cramps, asthma and even nausea from chemotherapy. Chinese medicine focuses on five key emotions: fear, worry, joy, grief and anger, and their corresponding meridians on the body. If a patient is especially worrisome, for example, the acupuncturist would work near the spleen. For treatment of specific phobias, the kidneys would indicate the acupuncture location. In 2009, Mississippi legalized the practice of acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists. The first licensed acupuncturist in Mississippi, Jerusha Stephens, says only six other acupuncturists join her in the state, and strong regulations still govern the practice. Every acupuncture patient must first have a referral from a medical doctor, and insurance generally does not cover acupuncture procedures. For more information about acupuncture in Mississippi, visit mississippiacupuncture.org. —AN

Aerobic Hearts

H

eart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. While this statistic can leave us speechless or prompt us to donate to the American Heart Association, it rarely hits us deeply enough to actually work to change the statistics. Cardiovascular exercise is essential in promoting healthy hearts. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise (high-intensity, heart-rate elevating) three to four days a week. To meet these recommendations, find something that will spark your interest like biking, swimming, jumping rope or running. SOURCE: CDC.GOV/NCHS/FASTATS/LCOD.HTM


J“Youth ACKSON 2000 LUNCHEON in Our Community - Reconciled or Racist?”

Come listen to representatives from Youth Leadership Jackson, The Young Peoples Project, Young Life and the William Winter Center for Racial Reconciliation Youth Organizers to learn what action youth are taking to make our community racially reconciled. Discover their views and opinions on race in our community. Learn what steps we adults can commit to for promoting racial reconciliation. RSVP to Bevelyn_branch@att.net or visit www.jackson2000.org.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 11:45 a.m. Mississippi Arts Center $12 cash or check, payable to “Jackson 2000”

jacksonfreepress.com

Questions? Write todd@jacksonfreepress.com for more information.

35


DIVERSIONS|sports

by Bryan Flynn

College Sports vs. Academics PULL FOR RONALD MCDONALD DailyHOUSE LunchCHARITIES Specials - $9 The McDonald house is a temporary “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals.

BUDLITE, MILLERLITE, BUDWEISER, COORSLITE

Daily Lunch Specials $9

Happy Hour Everyday 4pm-7pm

LATE NIGHT HAPPY HOUR Sunday - Thursday 10pm - 12am

2-FOR-1, YOU CALL IT!

601.978.1839

April 6 - 12, 2011

6270 Old Canton Rd. Jackson, MS 39211

36

tions, higher ticket sales (few will pay to see losing teams), higher merchandise sales and other moneymaking endeavors. So why not get rid of all those moneylosing sports? That leads us to Title IX. Title IX is part of a federal law that provides equal opportunity in education, including in sports programs. Universities must offer equal participation in women’s sports as in men’s sports. For example, sports scholarships for men and women must be the same. Not to get bogged down on specifics, but Title IX is one reason universities cannot cut moneydraining athletic programs. When universities have cut athletic programs, they have usually been men’s sports teams. Universities place a bigger emphasis on football and basketball to fund their athletic programs. That leads to a bigger question: Are athletic departments funding themselves, or are they a drain on the university? Again, this is a hard question to answer because a lot of the data are questionable at best. Most athletic departments show balancing revenues and expenditures. Some question if athletic directors are “cooking the books” in terms of spending, says Rick Hesel, a principal of Baltimore’s Art & Science Group, who helped the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics complete a study on spending on college athletics. Studies that ask if success in athletics lead to more money for academics show mixed results. Some say sports provide no academic benefit, and others say there is a slight benefit. Overall, though, experts admit that successful sports teams lead to increased enrollment and donations. “Like it or not—and I generally don’t— college sports is the main thing that makes alumni enthusiastic about their school,” wrote publisher James Joyner on his website Outside the Beltway. This entire subject is controversial and without easy answers. Every time someone brings up college sports and money, I’m reminded of the movie “The Program.” In one scene, James Caan’s character, Coach Winter, tries to get his backup quarterback back on the team after he’s been kicked out of school. “This is not a football vocational school. It’s an institute for higher learning,” the regent chairman tells him. “Yeah, but when was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?” Caan asks. For a 1993 film, it was ahead of its time. Follow Bryan Flynn on Twitter @jfpsports. KRISTIN BRENEMEN

Order a canned beverage. Give the tab to your server. Help a child in need.

W

hen people find out I’m a sports writer, they tend to ask similar questions. Most ask my opinion about this team or that player. But, every now and then, someone asks me about what I think is one of the most intriguing subjects in sports: the effect of college sports on academics and economics. Since the early 2000s, there seems to be an “arms race” in college football to build bigger stadiums and earn more money in college athletics. But people have major concerns about the rising cost of coaches’ salaries and that those salaries are rising quicker than professors’ salaries. Colleges and universities want the best professors to provide quality education and research. Low pay could cause the professors to look elsewhere for employment. Recently, Mississippi State University gave head coach Dan Mullen a significant pay raise. Mullen was making $1.5 million a year under his old contract, but after an 8-4 regular season, MSU decided their coach needed a pay increase. In a new four-year deal, Mullen will earn about $2.65 million annually. Who foots that large bill? Good question. The university will pay Mullen $250,000. Donations to the private Bulldog Foundation pay the rest of his salary. So what does MSU pay their professors? The average salary in 2010-09 was $92,700. That would lead you to believe that Mullen makes $2.56 million more than the average professor at MSU. But this is where it gets tricky. While professors might not make the money per year Mullen is paid, their salaries are not the grand total of their incomes. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) does not require universities to report summer salary (summer teaching, stipends, extra load or other forms of remuneration), only contracted salary. Their contracted salaries also do not include income from research grants typically earned in the summer, or from consulting, speaking or publishing. If coaches’ salaries are not a concern, people want to know how much universities spend on sports. Another tricky question. College athletics have only two guaranteed moneymaking sports: football and men’s basketball. A few exceptions exist where sports like baseball or women’s basketball makes money for a school, but that’s not the rule. This generally means that football and men’s basketball has to pay for all the other sports that lose money, putting more pressure to win on football and men’s basketball coaches. Winning equals more booster dona-

Doctor S sez: It was sad to see Ben Ingram go after three years as the M-Braves announcer. But we can still hear him on the A-Braves postgame show. THURSDAY, APRIL 7 Southern League baseball, Jackson at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 930 AM): The M-Braves open the 2011 season. The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx are now the Jackson Generals. Sound familiar? FRIDAY, APRIL 8 College baseball, Alabama A&M at Jackson State (6 p.m., Jackson): The Tigers will try to gain ground on SWAC leader Mississippi Valley State during this series with the woeful Bulldogs. SATURDAY, APRIL 9 College baseball, Florida at Mississippi State (noon, Starkville, CSS, 105.9 FM): A visit by the Gators probably won’t cure what’s ailing the Bulldogs. … Georgia at Ole Miss (2 p.m., Oxford, SportSouth, 97.3 FM): The Rebels take on the SEC’s other Bulldogs. … College football, Southern Miss Black-Gold Game (1 p.m., Hattiesburg): The Golden Eagles give fans an early look at the 2011 season. … Mississippi State Maroon-White Game (5 p.m., Starkville, CSS): Guess who will be in the TV booth? Former MSU coach/hero/villain Jackie Sherrill, that’s who. SUNDAY, APRIL 10 Pro golf, The Masters (1 p.m., Ch. 12): Will this be Tiger Woods’ return to the top of the golf world? Probably not, but this is required viewing anyway. MONDAY, APRIL 11 College baseball, Millsaps at Belhaven (6 p.m., Smith-Wills Stadium, Jackson, http://tinyurl.com/6z9du2k): What could be better in Jackson baseball than a Maloney Trophy Series game between the Majors and Blazers? TUESDAY, APRIL 12 College baseball, Belhaven at Millsaps (6 p.m., Jackson, http://tinyurl. com/3pkl9mu): How about back-to-back games between the Blazers and Majors? … Ole Miss vs. Southern Miss (6:30 p.m., Pearl, 97.3 FM, 1590 AM): The Rebels and the red-hot Golden Eagles collide at Trustmark Park. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13 Southern League baseball, Mississippi at Mobile (7 p.m., Mobile, Ala., 7 p.m., 103.9 FM): The M-Braves begin their first road series not far from the beach against the BayBears. Go see the battleship, guys. The Slate is compiled by Doctor S, who still can’t tell a mashie from a niblick. Follow your caddie’s advice and go to JFP Sports at www.jacksonfreepress.com.


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ention â&#x20AC;&#x153;biscuits and gravyâ&#x20AC;? to anyone who grew up in the South, and the popular breakfast staple will more than likely evoke fond childhood memories. According to food lore, sawmill crews in Appalachian logging camps often survived on little more than coffee, biscuits and cream gravyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;hence the popular term â&#x20AC;&#x153;sawmill gravy.â&#x20AC;? The dish gained regional distinction after the Civil War when food was in short supply. Basic cream gravy consisted of meat drippings, flour and a little milk. If milk was hard to come by, many people made do with water. Homesteaders made sure no food went to waste. This included the liquid left over after churning butter that quickly thickened and soured. Known as buttermilk, it made a great ingredient for baked goods, including biscuits. It is so satisfying to open the oven door to reveal a pan of golden brown, fluffy buttermilk biscuits and watch that quick puff of steam rise as you pull one apart to lather on a healthy swipe of butter or jelly. Achieving such greatness is possible if you follow a few key steps. Before getting started, be sure to check the expiration date on your dry ingredients; outdated elements will cause your biscuits to fall flat. Cold butter or shorteningâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;your fatâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is very important. As your biscuits bake, the cold fat in the dough turns to steam, creating moist, fluffy biscuits. You will need to â&#x20AC;&#x153;cutâ&#x20AC;? your fat into your dry ingredients. This is the process of incorporating small pieces of fat throughout your dough. Slice your chilled butter or shorten-

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

April 6 - 12, 2011

2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter or shortening 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

38

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Add three-quarters cup of buttermilk, and stir until dough comes together and begins to leave the side of the bowl, adding additional milk if necessary. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly knead 10 times. Roll or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into disks using a 2 to 2-1/4- inch round cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12 biscuits.

According to food lore, sawmill crews in Appalachian logging camps often survived on little more than coffee, biscuits and cream gravyâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;hence the popular term â&#x20AC;&#x153;sawmill gravy.â&#x20AC;?

ing into cubes first, add your cubes to your dry ingredients, then use a utensil such as a pastry cutter, fork or two knives to â&#x20AC;&#x153;cutâ&#x20AC;? the fat to smaller pieces. Do not use your hands to do this, as the warmth from your hands will warm the fat. Once your fat is well incorporated, your mixture should have the consistency of peas. Add enough of the wet ingredients to allow the dough to come together. However, the dough should be somewhat sticky as wet dough also aids in the creation of steam. If you can master biscuit making, then throwing together a creamy pan of gravy should be no problem. Drippings from a recently fried pan of breakfast sausage or bacon (Hey, I never said this was healthy) are preferred. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even better when you include little bits of that bacon or sausage in your gravy. Be sure to keep an eye on the gravy and stir, stir, stir. Once you add your liquid, it will begin to thicken rapidly. If you timed it right, your biscuits should be ready to come out of the oven just as you finish stirring the gravy. Pile a biscuit or two (or twelve) onto a plate, pour the hot gravy over top, and dig in.

WHITEâ&#x20AC;&#x153;SAWMILLâ&#x20AC;? GRAVY 3 tablespoons shortening or drippings 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1-1/2 cups milk Salt and pepper to taste

Heat shortening in a skillet over medium high heat. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time, whisking between each addition to combine with shortening and remove lumps. Reduce heat to medium. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes about two cups of gravy.

O

ne of the easiest comfort foods to serve is steaming hot, baked spaghetti squash. Available year-round, spaghetti squash, with its deep gold fruit, provides folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta-carotene. It averages only 42 calories per 1-cup serving. Bright rays of sunshine burst out of a cooked spaghetti squash. The long, intensely yellow strands of squash are easier to prepare than pasta. Tossing a football-sized squash in the oven is about as complicated as it gets. Most people will be proper and slice a spaghetti squash in half, clean out the seeds, then place it on a pan and cook it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. If you remove the seeds, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t throw them away. Roast seeds the same way as pumpkin seeds: Spread lightly buttered seeds on a baking sheet and roast in a 300degree oven for 45 minutes. DOCTEURCOSMOS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s All Gravy

by Valerie Wells

LISA LAFONTAINE BYNUM

/WN!CRES

Comfort from the rain

by Lisa LaFontaine Bynum

Cooked spaghetti squash has the look and texture of pasta.

Spaghetti squash substitutes for noodles in many dishes. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t taste like pasta, but it makes a fun, interesting alternative to a tired routine. Use your favorite pasta sauce, meatballs and garlic bread. Fork strings of golden goodness into a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and basil and perhaps some Parmesan cheese. Or eat it just as it is, subtly sweet and slightly crunchy. Squash doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really need a lot of covering up. For example, a really good butternut squash already tastes buttery and sweet, so sweet it can take you back to childhood. Acorn squash is another simple comfort foodâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;cut it half, bake and serve in its own bowl. Clean up is easy and organic. Besides being so darn easy and healthy, squash is a native Mississippi food. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a staple of southern diets as long as beans, corn and tomatoes. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also affordable. You can get a lot of squash for just $1. And while many cookbooks refer to this vegetable as a side dish, consider making it the main dish. If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t eat it all, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry: Squash freezes well and will wait to comfort you again.


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STEAK, SEAFOOD & FINE DINING

Crab’s (6954 Old Canton Rd., Ridgeland, 601-956-5040) Crab’s Seafood Shack offers a wide variety of southern favorites such as fried catfish and boiled shrimp. Full bar complete with multiple televisions for all of your favorite sporting events. Eslava’s Grille (2481 Lakeland Drive, 601-932-4070) Danny Eslava’s namesake feature Latin-influenced dishes like ceviche in addition to pastas, steaks, salads and other signature seafood dishes. Rocky’s (1046 Warrington Road, Vicksburg 601-634-0100) Enjoy choice steaks, fresh seafood, great salads, hearty sandwiches and much more in the “polished casual” dining room. Open 24/7 in the Riverwalk Casino. Parker House (104 South East Madison Drive, Ridgeland 601-856-0043) European and Creole take on traditional Southern ingredients. Crawfish, oysters, crab and steaks dominate, with creative option like Crab Mac ‘n Cheese, Oysters Rockefeller and Duck Jezebel.

BARBEQUE

5A44 FX5X

Hickory Pit Barbeque (1491 Canton Mart Rd. 601-956-7079) The “Best Butts in Town” features BBQ chicken, beef and pork sandwiches along with burgers and po’boys. Haute Pig (1856 Main Street, 601-853-8538) A “very high class pig stand,” Haute Pig offers Madison diners BBQ plates, sandwiches, po-boys, salads, and their famous Hershey bar pie. Lumpkins BBQ (182 Raymond Rd. Jackson 866-906-0942) Specializing in smoked barbeque, Lumpkin’s offers all your favorites for on-site family dining or for catered events, including reunions, office events, annivesaries, weddings and more.

Eslava’s Grille Seafood, Steaks and Pasta

By popular demand, we have added Shrimp Scampi to our menu!

COFFEE HOUSES

Cups Espresso Café (Multiple Locations, www.cupsespressocafe.com) Jackson’s local group of coffeehouses offer high-end Arabica beans, a wide variety of espresso drinks. Wi-fi. Wired Espresso Café (115 N State St 601-500-7800) This downtown coffeehouse is a true gathering place, featuring great coffee and a selection of breakfast, lunch and pastry items. Wi-fi.

PIZZA

4654 McWillie Dr., Jackson|Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10AM-9PM Friday & Saturday 10AM-12AM, Sunday 11AM-5PM

Danilo Eslava Caceres, Executive Chef/GM 2481 Lakeland Drive Flowood, MS 39232

601-932-4070 tel 601-933-1077 fax

The Pizza Shack (1220 N State St. 601-352-2001) 2009 and 2010 and 2011’s winner of Best Pizza offers the perfect pizza-and-a-beer joint. Creative pizza options abound along with sandwiches, wings, salads and even BBQ. Sal & Mookie’s (565 Taylor St. 601-368-1919) Pizzas of all kinds plus pasta, eggplant parmesan and the local favorite: fried ravioli. Best Kid’s Menu & Best Ice Cream in the 2011 Best of Jackson. Plus, Pi(e) Lounge in front offers great drinks... and a grown-up vibe.

ITALIAN

BRAVO! (4500 Interstate 55 N., Jackson, 601-982-8111) Wood-fired pizzas, vegetarian fare, plus creative pastas, beef, and seafood specials. Award-winning wine list, Jackson’s see-and-be-seen casual/upscale dining. Cerami’s (5417 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-919-28298) Southern-style Italian cuisine features their signature Shrimp Cerami (white wine sauce, capers artichokes) along with veal, tilapia, crawfish, chicken and pasta dishes. Now with liquor license! Fratesi’s (910 Lake Harbour, Ridgeland, 601-956-2929) “Authentic, homey, unpretentious” that’s how the regulars describe Fratesi’s, a staple in Jackson for years, offering great Italian favorites with loving care. The tiramisu is a must-have!

2003-2011, Best of Jackson

MEDITERRANEAN/GREEK/INDIAN

707 N Congress St., Jackson | 601-353-1180 Open 11am-2pm, Sunday thru Friday

Petra Café (2741 Old Canton Road, 601-925-0016) Mediterranean and Lebanese Cuisine. Everything from Stuffed Grape Leaves, to Spinach Pie, Shrimp Kabobs, Greek Salads, Hummus and more. Now Open in Fondren! Aladdin Mediterranean Grill (730 Lakeland Drive 601-366-6033) Delicious authentic dishes including lamb dishes, hummus, falafel, kababs, shwarma and much Come Try the Best Barmore. Consistent award winner, great for takeout or for long evenings with friends. (a very high-class pig stand) Bombay Bistro (3716 I-55 N - 601-487-8370) Bombay Bistro is Jackson’s newest source for authentic, tasty Indian food. Their lunch buffet runs everyday and features an assortment of Kebobs, Kurries, and Naan for only $7.99. Dinner options abound, with fresh ingredients, authentic spices and big-city flair. Kristos (971 Madison Ave @ Hwy 51, Madison, 601-605-2266)856 Main Street Madison, MS 39110 - (601) Home of the famous Greek meatball! Hummus, falafel, dolmas, pita sandwiches, salads, plus seasoned curly fries (or sweet potato fries) and amazing desserts. Mezza (1896 Main St., Suite A, Madison 601-853-0876) Mediterranean cuisine and wood fired brick oven pizzas. Come experience the beautiful patio, Hookahs, and delicious food. Beer is offered and you are welcome to bring your own wine. Vasilios (828 Hwy 51 in Madison 601-853-0028) Authentic Greek dining featuring fresh seafood daily along with gyros, greek salads, appetizers and 856 Main Street • Madison, MS • 601.853.8538 signature Mediterranean desserts. Their redfish is a standout, earning rave reviews.

Have y

Come Try the Best Bar-B-Que In Madison

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www.thepizzashackjackson.com

<2:=1/B7=< =>3<7<5A==< Colonial Mart Shopping Center Off Old Canton Rd Behind Great Harvest Bread Co. 5046 Parkway Drive

!! WINNER !! BEST PIZZA IN JACKSON 2009 - 2011

Dine-In / Carry-Out

Mon - Thur: 11am-10pm Fri - Sat: 11am-11pm Sun: 11am - 9pm

601-352-2001 1220 N. State St.

April 6 - April 12, 2011

(across from Baptist Medical Center)

40

CATERING AVAILABLE


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BARS, PUBS & BURGERS Brady’s Bar and Grill (6720 Old Canton Rd., Ridgeland, 601-812-6862) Everything you’d expect from a bar and grill, from classic pub fare to their Krispy Sweet Pepper Chicken. Burgers, seafood baskets, salads, steaks and lunch specials. And, ladies get one free Apple Martini or Cosmo during Brady’s Thursday Ladies Night! Cherokee Inn (960 Briarfield Rd. 601-362-6388) Jackson’s “Best Hole in the Wall,” has a great jukebox, great bar and a great burger. Plate lunches, cheesy fries and tons more, including a full bar and friendly favorites. Cool Al’s (4654 McWillie, 601-713-3020) A Best of Jackson fixture, Cool Al’s signature stacked, messy, decadent, creative burgers defy adjectives. And don’t forget the fries! Fenian’s Pub (901 E. Fortification St. 601-948-0055) Classic Irish pub featuring a menu of traditional food, pub sandwiches and beers such as Guinness and Harp on tap. Stamps Superburgers (1801 Dalton Street 601-352-4555) Huge burgers will keep you full until the next day! The homestyle fries are always fresh. Hal and Mal’s (200 S. Commerce St. 601-948-0888) Pub favorites meet Gulf Coast and Cajun specialties like red beans and rice, the Oyster Platter or each day’s blackboard special. Best of Jackson winner for Live Music Venue for multiple years running. Last Call (3716 I-55 N. Frontage Road 601-713-2700) Burgers, sandwiches and poboys, plus sports-bar appetizers and specialities. Pay-per-view sporting events, live bands. Martin’s Restaurant and Lounge (214 South State Street 601-354-9712) Lunch specials, pub appetizers (jalapeno poppers, cheezsticks, fried pickles) or order from the full menu of po-boys and entrees. Full bar, massive beer selection and live music most nights. Time Out Sports Café (6720 Old Canton Road 601-978-1839) 14 TVs, 1 projector and two big-screens. Daily $9 lunch specials, pub-style appetizers, burgers, seafood and catfish po-boys, salads, and hot entrees including fish, steak and pasta. Ole Tavern on George Street (416 George St. 601-960-2700) Pub food with a southern flair: beer-battered onion rings, chicken & sausage gumbo, salads, sandwiches and weekly lunch specials. Plus, happy hour 4-7pm Monday through Friday. Poets Two (1855 Lakeland Drive, Suite H-10, 601-364-9411) Pub fare at its finest. Crabcake minis, fried dills, wings, poppers, ultimate fries, sandwiches, po-boys, pasta entrees and steak. The signature burgers come in bison, kobe, beef or turkey! Sportsman’s Lodge (1120 E Northside Dr. in Maywood Mart 601-366-5441) Voted Best Sports Bar in 2010, Sportman’s doesn’t disappoint with plenty of gut-pleasing sandwiches, fried seafood baskets, sandwiches and specialty appetizers. Underground 119 (119 South President St. 601-352-2322) Jumbo lump crabcakes, crab quesadillas, beef tenderloin parfaits, orange-garlic shrimp, even “lollipop” lamb chops. Add a full bar and mix in great music. Opens 4 p.m.-until, Wed-Sat. Wing Stop (952 North State Street, 601-969-6400) Saucing and tossing wings in a choice of nine flavors, Wingstop wings are made with care and served up piping hot. Every order is made fresh to order; check out the fresh cut seasoned fries!

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ASIAN

Pan Asia (720 Harbor Pines Dr, Ridgeland 601-956-2958) Beautiful ambiance in this popular Ridgeland eatery accompanies signature asian fusion dishes and build-your-own stirfrys using fresh ingredients and great sauces.

SOUTHERN CUISINE

BAKERY

Broad Street Bakery (4465 Interstate 55 N. 601-362-2900) Hot breakfast,coffee espresso drinks, fresh breads and pastries, gourmet deli sandwiches, quiches, soups, pizzas and dessert. Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland 601-936-3398/ 515 Lake Harbour 601-898-3400) A Jackson institution featuring a full breakfast, blue-plate specials, catfish, burgers, prime rib, oysters, po-boys and wraps. Save room for something from their famous bakery! For Heaven’s Cakes (4950 Old Canton Road 601-991-2253) Cakes and cupcakes for all occasions including weddings, parties, catered events. Beagle Bagel (4500 I-55 North, Suite 145, Highland Village 769-251-1892) Mmmm... Bagels. Fresh bagels in tons of different styles with a variety of toppings including cream cheese, lox, eggs, cheese, meats and or as full sandwiches for lunch. Paninis, wraps and much more!

VEGETARIAN

High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road in Rainbow Plaza 601-366-1513) Fresh, gourmet, tasty and healthy defines the lunch options at Jackson’s own strict vegetarian (and very-vegan-friendly) restaurant.

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jacksonfreepress.com

Two Sisters Kitchen (707 N. Congress St. 601-353-1180) 2010 Best of Jackson winner for fried chicken offers a sumptious buffet of your choice of veggies, a salad bar, iced tea & one of three homemade desserts. Lunch only. Mon-Friday, Sun.

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SEXY check out our Daily Drink Specials! BAR/PATIO OPEN ‘TIL 11:00 pm FRI-SAT

Old School vs. The New Kids

W

hen we’re young, we learn important life lessons through play and fun: A big yellow bird on TV shows us friendship; the story of a rabbit and a turtle helps us understand the importance of persistence; a singing frog teaches us about compassion because, well, it’s not easy being green. This week, I noticed that even as an adult, having fun can still teach us things. For many folks, this time of year means obsessing over one game—basketball—and worrying about their NCAA bracket. My friends are not among those folks, but not JULIE SKIPPER

Christina Cannon sports sassy shoes—good footwear is essential when bar hopping.

wanting to be left out, several of them came up with a Jackson March Madness Bar Bracket and invited me to join. The game works like this: The bracket is designed to determine a champion bar in town through a battle of Old School Bars vs. The New Kids. My friend S.D. is our bracket maven and handled evaluation forms we filled out after each round, dutifully tallying points awarded and narratives we wrote to determine which establishments advanced to the next round. This week, we hit up our “Elite Eight” bars, and while having a lot of fun, I took away something besides a good time with each round. The Old School Bars had two divisions:

karaoke and food-drink. The karaoke round pitted Fenian’s against Ole Tavern on George Street. Lesson from this round: Don’t make assumptions about someone based on appearances. As soon as you do, the 65-year-old woman you’ve pegged for 1960s doo-wop gets up and delivers a rendition of “Gin and Juice” that will make Snoop himself proud and receives a standing ovation. (It’s a safe bet that the 20-something guys will sing “I’m on a Boat.” They will. Every time.) Also in this round, the friends I refer to as the Karaoke Kids because of their fervent dedication finally convinced me get onstage and participate, resulting in a bonus lesson: Face your fear. Not only was it fun (it’s not exactly like I’m shy to begin with), but I won a free drink. In the food and drink round, it was Julep vs. Hal & Mal’s. (I know. Calling Julep Old School may be a stretch. Just go with it.) Lessons from this round were multiple. First, it is possible to fit eight people into a booth meant for six. Second, as the saying goes, make new friends, but keep the old. I hit one of the spots with new friends and the other with an old friend. Learning more about new friends was a blast, but the sense of security and comfort that comes from a shared history with an old friend is hard to beat. Then it was time for The New Kids in the Jackson nightlife scene. You can’t talk bars without covering happy hour, and in that bracket, Underground 119 faced Pi(e) Lounge. Due to my schedule, I hit those two up on my own and walked away learning that you’re never really alone in Jackson. Although I might walk into a place by myself, it’s inevitable that I run into someone I know and end up having a great conversation. Or, I’ll just make a new friend. To put it in childhood terms, the lesson was be nice and play well with others, because then you’ll always have someone to talk to. In the final bracket, we had the newest of

JULIE SKIPPER

MARGARITAS

by Julie Skipper

Kristin Harwell wears a flirty eyelet top, jeans and boots at Stewpot fundraiser Taste of Mississippi at Highland Village.

the new: Parlor Market and Babalu battling it out in the specialty-drink category. Here we took away a couple of pearls of wisdom. First, fresh air is good for you. Both spots offer outdoor seating, and even on a day when we were tired, getting some good old vitamin D helped everyone feel better. Second, two different drinks can share the same name (I’m looking at you, Martinez). Differences don’t mean one is better or worse than the other. It does mean you need to know whom you’re dealing with or you might wind up with something unexpected. This week, we revisit the bars that advanced to the Final Four, and ultimately we’ll determine our Jackson March Madness Bar Champion. But no matter the result, it’s been a great game—visiting different places and enjoying lots of good company—and that makes everyone a winner.

April 6 - 12, 2011

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